We are heading into American college basketball’s infamous March Madness. As always, the landscape changes almost daily as teams await conference tournament draws. Once action begins, teams play almost daily until a championship winner is found.
A posse of Kiwis will contest the West Coast Conference (WCC) Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Vegas from 4 March.
Despite losing 86-72 to San Francisco in their final regular season game, BYU will be seeded #2 – Tegan Graham, who has shot 44% (33/75) from beyond the arc this season, and Kaylee Smiler are important pieces for the school.
Portland warmed up for the Tournament with a 101-94 overtime win against Pepperdine – Emme Shearer playing big minutes. In contrast, St Mary’s, with its Kiwi trio of Jade Kirisome, Tayla Dalton and Amy West, went down 73-54 at Pacific in their final hit out. Amy West managed seven points and five rebounds in her first start since returning from injury.
Washington State University closed out the Pac-12 regular season with a 61-52 win against local rivals Washington. Charlisse Leger-Walker finished the contest with 13 points, passing 400 points for the campaign, and scoring in double figures in all but two of her 21 games to date. Krystal Leger-Walker had three points, four rebounds and four assists in the same contest.
WSU begin the Pac-12 Tournament later this week, as do Charlotte Whittaker (University of Colorado) and Tara Manumaleuga (Arizona).
In the Atlantic 10 Conference, Akienne Tera-Reid dished a season high eight assists, but Virginia Commonwealth went down 87-68 to Rhode Island to finish the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season with a 10-5 record.
You must feel for Kendell Heremaia and Fordham University, due to meet George Washington in their final regular fixture on March 4, they have not played since 12 February due to New York State’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Heremia and Tera-Reid will learn of the Atlantic 10 Tournament draw later this week ahead of the 10 March start date.
Helen Matthews scored 11 points as Wofford University went down 58-52 against Furman.
Wofford (7-7) will now head to the Southern Conference Tournament beginning on March 4. Also playing in the Southern Conference Tournament will be Pareunora Pene and Tennessee Chattanooga (9-5).
Cantabrian Tsubasa Nisbett scored six points and added four rebounds and a pair of assists, but Georgia Southern Eagles fell 77-66 to Appalachian State. The Eagles will play the first game at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on 5 March against the fourth seed.
In Division II play, former Harbour guard Chanel Brodeur-Muir produced a career-high 17 points, as well as six rebounds, to get Thomas Aquinas Spartans the 52-44 win over Mercy. The Spartans begin East Coast Conference Tournament play on 2 March .
The Carolinas Conference Championships also commence on the same date, with Zarya Poulava and University of Mount Olive (6-6) taking on Emmanuel College (11-3).
Eva Langton and Texas A&M International, seeded sixth, will take on third seed West Texas in the Lone Star Conference Championships Quarter-Finals on 2 March.
In NAIA action, Michelle Nicholls top scored with 14 points, but Central Methodist University bowed out 78-57 to Grand View in the quarter-final of the America Athletic Conference play-offs. Nicholls finished the season averaging 9.9 points and five rebounds per game in her senior year at CMI.
Dominique Stephens tallied 18 points (8/12FG) and six rebounds as Rocky Mountain College concluded its season with an 81-42 loss at Montana Western. Stephens led the Rockies in scoring (9.2ppg), rebounds (5.0rpg) and blocks (1.1bpg).
News is filtering through of Tall Ferns signing to play NBL1 in Australia in 2021. Penina Davidson has inked a deal with Nunawading Spectres, while Chevannah Paalvast will remain with the Logan Thunder for a second season.
The Spectres play in the NBL1 South Conference while the Thunder are in the NBL1 North Conference. Also suiting up in NBL1 North will be Kalani Purcell and Ash Karaitiana for the Southern District Spartans.
Jordan Hunter is tagged to play for South Adelaide Panthers in NBL1 Central, while Zoe Richards has landed at Perth club Rockingham Flames who will contest NBL1 West.
Meanwhile back in New Zealand, athletes are dealing with the new recruiting conditions that Covid-19 has presented. To assist athletes navigate this sometimes tricky and complex process, BBNZ recommends NCSA, our official US College recruiting partner.
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