The Tall Ferns made it two from two at the William Jones Cup in Taiwan on Thursday beating South Korea 93-74.
As expected the game was a tighter contest than the romp against India the day before. Korea trailed by single figures with seven minutes to play before the Kiwis closed out the win with a 14-4 finishing run.
Ashleigh Karaitiana followed her 38 points haul against India with 23 points to again lead all scorers whilst Kalani Purcell (12 points and 14 rebounds) and Penina Davidson (21 points and 11 rebounds) posted double-doubles helping New Zealand dominate the rebounding count 46-18.
Stella Beck came close to a double-double with 8 points and 11 assists and there were fine contributions also from Jacinta Beckley (9 points) and Brooke Blair (13 points).
Shooting percentages of 60% (24/40) from inside the arc, 39% (11/28) from beyond the three-point line and 80% (12/15) from the free-throw line delighted Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy.
“We shot the ball beautifully and moved it well to earn a strong victory. The spread of scoring contributions was impressive.
“The team also played excellent defence to keep a very fast Korean team down,” he added.
New Zealand led 15-14 after early exchanges but triples from Purcell, Beckley and Blair helped open up a 27-19 first quarter lead.
Blair and Karaitiana extended the advantage by five points at the outset of the second period before Korea hit back with a 6-0 run.
In response Davidson became the first player to hit double figure points as the Tall Ferns moved out to a 46-33 advantage.
Korea had the better of the back end of the period to trail the Kiwis 50-41 at half-time - New Zealand shooting the three-ball at a handy 47% (7 from 15) in the half.
Korea closed to within two points early in the second half with an 11-4 run before Karaitiana and Davidson steadied the ship. The pair shared 17 points in the third stanza as the Tall Ferns led 70-59 with ten minutes to play.
New Zealand emphasized their superiority with a 23-15 closing quarter make it two wins from two outings.
“The Tall Ferns played excellent basketball at both ends of the court,” said a contented Molloy after his team, ranked 42nd on the Fiba world rankings beat the team twenty-six places above them.
New Zealand 93 – A Karaitiana 23, P Davidson 21/11r, B Blair 13, K Purcell 12/14r, J Beckley 9, S Beck 8/11a, T Boagni 4, N Ruske 3
South Korea 74 – K Seul 17, H Park 16
It is the 40th edition of the William Jones Cup, the six-team tournament played in a straight round robin format. New Zealand will take on Republic of China on Friday, tip-off 11.00pm (NZT)
In addition to New Zealand (ranked 42nd in the world) the tournament will feature South Korea (16th), China (10th), China B and India (45th) and Japan, the Asian champions ranked 13th in the world.
Only Kalani Purcell remains from the team that won bronze at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April for the upcoming tour. (More on the team selection here).
New Zealand Tall Ferns Team
Stella Beck (Townsville Flames/Formerly St Mary’s College, California)
Jacinta Beckley (Formerly Seattle University)
Brooke Blair (Harbour Breeze/ Rockhampton Cyclones/Formerly Idaho State University)
Tessa Boagni (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats/Formerly California State University, Northridge)
Penina Davidson (Harbour Breeze/Formerly University of California, Berkeley)
Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato Wizards/Formerly Murray State College)
Ashleigh Karaitiana (Bendigo Spirit)
Kalani Purcell (Melbourne Boomers/South West Metro Pirates)
• Akiene-Tera Reed
(Harbour Breeze/Virginia Commonwealth University)
Nicole Ruske (Otago Gold Rush)
Tall Ferns Schedule at William Jones Cup
July 25 v India
July 26 v South Korea
July 27 v China
July 28 v China B
July 29 v Japan