WBC Preview Round 7

WBC Preview Round 7

Round 7 of the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) features three Division 1 games with all fixtures having a bearing on play-off standings.

Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats will visit AM I FIT Otago Goldrush - both teams with a 4-4 record. Waikato Wizards will head to the City of Sails for a double header against Auckland Dream and Harbour Breeze - the Dream looking to bounce back from two straight losses. 

Saturday June 22, 7pm – AM I FIT Otago Goldrush v Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats at More FM Arena Edgar Centre

With both teams sitting on four wins, with two games of the regular season to play, and five victories appearing to be the minimum number required to make the semi-finals, this clash between the Mainland rivals takes on extra significance.

Current form perhaps favours the hosts with AM I FIT Otago Goldrush having won their last three games. However Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats have won the previous two meetings between the teams this season (one a pre-season game) and will be keen to end their four game road stretch with a victory that would secure a top four play-off berth.

Marita Davydova recorded a season high 19 rebounds against the Wizards last weekend as well as accumulating 18 points. Minimising the Russian international’s effectiveness in the paint will be tasked to the two Natalie’s, Smith and Visger.

Nicole Ruske (23 points) and Zoe Richards (15 points) were in good form against Auckland Dream last Saturday – the Wildcats will have to keep the defensive shackles on the duo in order to claim that much coveted fifth win.

Predicted Starters

  • Gold Rush – Natalie Visger, Nicole Ruske, Natalie Smith, Soraya Umaga-Jensen, Bronwyn Kjestrup
  • Wildcats – Marita Davydova, Tessa Boagni, Tessa Morrison, Shea Crotty, Laken Wairau

Key Numbers

  • With double figure scores in four of her last five games Nicole Ruske is showing the type of form that earned her Tall Ferns selection last year. She needs just 6 points to pass the 100 mark for the season.
  • Corralling 8 rebounds last Saturday against the Wizards forward Tessa Boagni passed 300 WBC career rebounds in her 33rd appearance for the Wildcats.

Saturday June 22, 7.30pm – Auckland Dream v Waikato Wizards at Joyce Fisher Sports Centre (Epsom Girls Grammar School)

Auckland Dream are without a number of key players as they look to bounce back from a pair of defeats last weekend. Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Kalani Purcell, Jordan Hunter and Natalie Taylor are notable absentees – Purcell with the Tall Ferns at the FIBA 3X3 World Cup in Amsterdam.

Krystal and Charlisse Leger-Walker were reunited in Waikato WBC colours for the first time this season in the win against the Wildcats last Saturday. The pair combined for 44 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals and look certain to give the Dream backcourt some nightmares. Also in sparkling form was Ella Bradley who needs just 7 points to become the third Division 1 player to reach 100 points this season.

Charged with looking after the potent Waikato guard duo will be the backcourt firm of Buck and Buchman. Former Tall Fern Amanda Buck and Casyn Buchman, working her way back to full fitness after a foot injury, are two of the most experienced guards in the competition.

Predicted Starters

  • Dream – Amanda Buck, Casyn Buchman, Hailey Moala, Milomilo Nanai, Idaho-Maree Stowers
  • Wizards - Krystal Leger-Walker, Natasha Lenden, Ella Bradley, Kelcy Ballantyne, Charlisse Leger-Walker

Key Numbers

  • Krystal Leger-Walker leads the league in points (17.2ppg), assists (4.5apg) and steals (3.5spg).
  • Rebecca van Kuyk led the Dream scoring (13 points) when the teams last met in the second game of the season.

Sunday June 23, 3pm – Harbour Breeze v Waikato Wizards at AUT Sports Centre, North Shore

The Breeze will be without veteran Noni Martin and Ashleigh Kelman-Poto but possibly the deepest team in the league still boast six current or former Tall Ferns in their lineup.

Despite toppling the league leading Dream in the last round the Breeze will certainly not be complacent against the talented Wizards. The forward trio of Penina Davidson, Deena Franklin and Keeley Tini combined for 37 points and 20 rebounds last week and will pose a few problems for their counterparts Ella Bradley, Kelcy Ballantyne and Zarya Poulava.

That said Junior Tall Fern Ella Bradley has been in fine form and registered 22 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks against the tall timber of the Wildcats last week.

In an interesting sub-plot opposing coaches Jody Cameron and Leanne Walker, former Tall Ferns teammates, and 2018 Junior Tall Ferns coaches know each other’s game plans inside out. Bragging rights and a possible top two WBC finish are on the line.

Predicted Starters

  • Breeze – Yumi Negishi, Akiene-Tera Reid, Deena Franklin, Penina Davidson, Matangiroa Flavell
  • Wizards -  Krystal Leger-Walker, Natasha Lenden, Ella Bradley, Kelcy Ballantyne, Charlisse Leger-Walker 

Key Numbers

  • Ella Bradley is fourth on the league rebounding list averaging 7.6 rebounds per game and top ten in scoring with 13.3 points per game.
  • Bradley’s 2018 Junior Tall Fern team mate Tayla Dalton leads the league in three-point percentage shooting at 41% (9/22).

Division 1 Standings

  • 6-2 Auckland Dream
  • 5-2 Harbour Breeze
  • 4-3 Waikato Wizards
  • 4-4 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats, AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush
  • 0-8 Taranaki Thunder

Division 2

Due to illness and injuries coupled by the Northland Phoenix, this Division 2 games against the Harbour Zephyr will not go ahead this weekend.

Division 2 Standings

  • 5-1 Wellington, Capital Swish
  • 4-2 McAlpines M10 MEGA North Canterbury Spirit, Harbour Zephyr
  • 2-4 Rotorua Lady Geysers
  • 1-5 Northland Phoenix
  • 0-6 South Canterbury Stealers

Article Mike Lacey


Watch selected 2019 Women’s Basketball Championship games through livestream on BBNZ’s Facebook @basketballNZ hashtag #NZWBC or website www.nz.basketball/tv.

Livestream game for round 7:

Sunday June 23 – Harbour Breeze v Waikato Wizards 3pm at AUT Fitness & Sports Centre, North Shore


Available for all game click here.

Season Stats

Available for games click here.

More Info

See the draw, results and teams and more at www.nzwbc.basketball.
Want to play basketball? Contact your local association through www.thehuddle.co.nz.