With the 3×3 Women’s Series coming to its conclusion for 2023, the final regular stop of this competition will see the 3×3 Tall Ferns heading to Montreal this weekend.
The 3×3 Tall Ferns for Montreal has been selected as: Taiana Day, Arielle Mackey-Williams, Olivia O’Neill and Dominique Stephens.
Mackey-Williams and Stephens both previously competed in the Edmonton stop of the 3×3 Women’s Series last month, while O’Neill last suited up for the 3×3 Tall Ferns in May at the FIBA 3×3 U23 Nations League in China. Waikato’s Day is also a Kiwi 3×3 regular, having appeared for the 3×3 Junior Tall Ferns team in the 2022 FIBA 3×3 U18 Women’s World Cup in Hungary.
As New Zealand is unable to qualify for the 3×3 Women’s Series Final in Ulaanbaatar on 16-17 September, this is the 3×3 Tall Fern’s last stop of the tour; with the Kiwis set to face the Canadian, United States and Poland national teams from 2-3 September.
BBNZ 3×3 Programme Manager, Nikolay Mikhalchuk – who will also serve as team manager on the tour – says this tournament provides a rare opportunity for New Zealand’s 3×3 athletes to gain valuable international experience.
“It’s not possible for countries to travel to New Zealand for 3×3 basketball due to our geography and distance, so normally we travel to where the best competitions are,” says Mikhalchuk.
“And this 3×3 Women’s Series is perfect for us because each stop sees our squad going up against some of the world’s best – until recently that could only happen for us at a 3×3 World Cup or Asia Cup.”
With an average age of 20.25 years, this is the youngest 3×3 Tall Ferns squad to appear in the 3×3 Women’s Series, which Mikhalchuk says is a purposeful decision.
“The 3×3 Women’s Series has been successful for us in terms of developing and evaluating our younger athletes, and with this last stop we really want to invest in our young players – particularly as we build up to the U23 Nations League in 2024.
“So this squad includes some interesting young players who already have some high-level international experience; it gives Olivia [O’Neill] a chance to display her leadership qualities in leading this younger group, and it’s also a great chance for Taiana [Day] to earn her stripes as a first-time 3×3 Tall Fern.”
The 3×3 Tall Ferns head to Montreal at the start of September for the 3×3 Women’s Series. Watch live at www.youtube.com/fiba3x3
3×3 Tall Ferns Squad – 3×3 Women’s Series, Montreal
Arielle Mackey-Williams, Brigham Young University, Utah
Olivia O’Neill, Mainland Pouākai (Tauihi)
Dominique Stephens, Rocky Mountain College, Montana
3×3 Tall Ferns Schedule – 3×3 Women’s Series, Montreal
NZL vs Canada, 10.30pm NZT, Sat 2 September
NZL vs USA U24, 12.20am NZT, Sun 3 September
NZL vs Poland, 2.10am NZT, Sun 3 September