In Round 7 of the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) there was a win for Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats and a pair of victories for Waikato Wizards – both teams now guaranteed Division 1 semi-final berths on July 5th.
The Wildcats 71-54 defeat of the AM I FIT Otago Goldrush left the play-off hopes of the defending champions hanging by a thread.
Next weekend the Harbour Breeze head to the South Island for a game in Christchurch against the Wildcats on Saturday followed by a match up against the Goldrush on Sunday. For the Goldrush to clinch a top four place they need the Wildcats to beat the Breeze and follow that with more than a 38-point victory of their own.
This unlikely scenario comes about because Goldrush (4-5) lost 85-47 to the Breeze (5-3) when the two teams met earlier in the season.
Waikato Wizards demonstrated that they are genuine championship contenders with a pair of road wins over the weekend. On Saturday they beat Auckland Dream 66-51 and on Sunday crossed the Harbour Bridge to defeat the Breeze 85-79.
Wizards guard Charlisse Leger-Walker demonstrated her class by amassing 72 points across the two games.
Division 1 Results
Saturday June 22, AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush 54 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats 71
Based around domination on the boards Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats secured a play-off berth with a 71-54 victory against AM I FIT Otago Goldrush in Dunedin on Saturday night.
The league’s leading rebounder Marita Davydova corralled 19 boards for the third time this season as the Wildcats dominated that statistic 59-31.
Trailing by ten points at three-quarter time, seven straight points from Zoe Richards (17 points) meant it was a two-point game (49-47) early in the fourth.
The outstanding Davydova scored the next two baskets but Goldrush weren’t going down without a fight. A pair of Nicole Ruske free-throws meant the defending champions only trailed by four points (53-49) with under six minutes to play.
However it was all Wildcats in the closing minutes outscoring the hosts 18-5 with guards Tessa Morrison, Laken and Sapphire Wairau doing most of the damage.
Things looked hopeful early on for Goldrush as they led 13-12 at the first break and trailed by just three points (30-27) at half-time.
Laken Wairau (14 points) took the Wildcats out to a 16 points advantage before Natalie Visger, Aleisha Ruske and Hayley Gray reduced the deficit to 48-38 at the last break.
The Richards mini-salvo gave Goldrush hope but it was the visiting Wildcats guards that had the final say.
- Gold Rush 54 – Zoe Richards 17, Natalie Visger 10/9r, Nicole Ruske 9
- Wildcats 71 – Laken Wairau 14, Marita Davydova 12/19r, Sapphire Wairau 11, Terai Sadler 10, Tessa Boagni 10, Tessa Morrison 9
Saturday June 22, Auckland Dream 51 Waikato Wizards 66
When forward Rebecca van Kuyk scored as the half-time buzzer sounded it looked as if an undermanned Auckland Dream, ahead 28-22, may be headed for victory against Waikato Wizards.
Those hopes were put in doubt at the beginning of the second half as Charlisse Leger-Walker, on her way to a game high 33 points, reeled off 11 straight points.
Hailey Moala and Sharne Pupuke-Robati (11 points and 13 rebounds) kept the Dreams’ hopes alive as they trailed by just three points at three-quarter time (44-41).
Midway through the final period the result was still in doubt with the Dream trailing 54-47 but it was then the visitors made their move.
Kelcy Ballantyne, Ella Bradley (7 points and 10 rebounds), Charlisse and Krystal Leger-Walker, were all contributors as the Wizards unleashed a 10-0 run to seal the deal, much to the delight of the travelling supporters from the Waikato.
The Dream, after three straight losses, will look to return to winning ways next Sunday in New Plymouth when they take on Taranaki Thunder.
- Dream 51 – Sharne Pupuke-Robati 16/13r, Hailey Moala 11, Casyn Buchman 7, Rebecca van Kuyk 6
- Wizards 66 - Charlisse Leger-Walker 33, Krystal Leger-Walker 11/5a, Ella Bradley 7/10r, Natasha Lenden 5
Sunday June 23, Harbour Breeze 79 Waikato Wizards 85
It took a combined 64 points from Charlisse Leger-Walker (39 points) and Krystal Leger-Walker (25 points) to see off a determined Harbour Breeze in a game that wasn’t decided until the last minute of the contest.
When Harbour Breeze guard Matangiroa Flavell knocked down a corner three with 48 seconds to play the Waikato Wizards lead was just two points (81-79).
With a chance to tie the game the Breeze committed a turnover meaning they had to foul to win back possession. Charlisse Leger-Walker iced proceedings from the free throw line as Waikato won a third straight game and with it a share of top spot on the WBC ladder.
In a quality contest in which the lead changed hands 17 times and the scores were tied on another 13 occasions the score line was 61 points apiece at three-quarter time.
After the Wizards began the fourth with a 9-0 run Keeley Tini and Penina Davidson (14 points and 14 rebounds) dragged the Breeze back into the contest and when Deena Franklin scored inside the Breeze trailed 74-72 with 3:30 to play.
Natasha Lenden and the tireless Ella Bradley’s baskets were cancelled out by Davidson and Yume Negishi (13 points and 6 assists) – 79-76 in favour of the Wizards with ninety seconds left on the clock.
Krystal Leger-Walker afforded the Wizards some breathing space before that late Flavell three gave the Breeze hope.
Charlisse Leger-Walker’s calmness at the charity stripe dashed that optimism.
- Breeze 79 - Akiene-Tera Reid 17, Penina Davidson 14/14r, Yume Negishi 13/6a, Deena Franklin 11, Matangiroa Flavell 8
- Wizards 85 - Charlisse Leger-Walker 39/13r ,Krystal Leger-Walker 25/13r, Ella Bradley 12, Tash Lenden 5
Division 1 Standings
- 6-3 Auckland Dream, Waikato Wizards
- 5-4 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
- 5-3 Harbour Breeze
- 4-5 AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush
- 0-8 Taranaki Thunder
Division 2 Standings
- 5-1 Capital Swish, Wellinton
- 4-2 McAlpines M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit, Harbour Zephyr
- 2-4 Rotorua Lady Geysers
- 1-5 Northland Phoenix
- 0-6 South Canterbury Stealers
- 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 was Harbour Breeze vs Waikato Wizards.
Available for all game click here.
Available for games click here.