Over the weekend the Tall Ferns began their final preparations for the William Jones Cup with two friendly matches against Japan.
The inexperienced New Zealand Tall Ferns team, with four debutants in their lineup, lost 98-48 to Japan in a closed-door friendly international in Tokyo on Friday.
The Asian Cup champions proved too strong for the Kiwis, building on a 50-27 half-time lead, to run out comfortable winners.
The Japanese came into the game fresh off a one-point loss to the world number two-ranked Spanish team and were able to outwork and outclass the Tall Ferns. In contrast the New Zealand team has had minimal preparation although Head Coach Guy Molloy was able to take encouragement from the performance despite the heavy defeat.
“The result was not surprising since we only met as a team two days ago and trained together for the first time then. There were many positives to our play but we couldn’t finish, nor stop them defensively. However, my expectation is we will get better every day we are together,” said Molloy.
The Tall Ferns play the Fujitsu Redwave on Saturday before suiting up against the Japanese national team again on Sunday. The Red Wave finished fifth in the powerful Japanese National Basketball League.
The Tall Ferns play the three games in Japan before heading to Taiwan to compete at the William Jones Cup (July 25-29).
The young New Zealand Tall Ferns were defeated 99-66 by Fijitsu Redwave in the second game of their Japanese preparation tour ahead of the William Jones Cup.
The Tall Ferns struggled with the speed and pressure defence of the Red Wave, one of the premier teams in the powerful Japanese National Basketball League.
The Kiwis committed a large number of turnovers and struggled to guard the fine three-point shooting of the Redwave. It wasn't until the fourth period that the Tall Ferns settled down and won a quarter.
“We finally gained composure and ran our stuff in the fourth quarter instead of rushing and over dribbling,” said Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy.
“We will take that lesson away with us as we continue preparation for the William Jones Cup in Taiwan next week," he added.
The Tall Ferns played the last of their three games in Tokyo against Japan overnight. They will now head to Taiwan to compete at the William Jones Cup (July 25-29).
Photo credit - Angela Ruske
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 CanterburyWildcats/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)
Tera-Akiene Reed (Harbour Breeze/Virginia Commonwealth University)
Nicole Ruske (Otago Gold Rush)