The Tall Ferns head into their second game of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup tonight, taking on world number two ranked China in a battle for first place in Group A.
Following a hard-fought 66-64 win over Korea yesterday, New Zealand will be buoyed by the play of their trio of Penina Davidson (24 points & 10 rebounds), Charlisse Leger-Walker (20 points) and Tera Reed (14 points and 11 rebounds), as well as solid contributions from Krystal Leger-Walker and Tayla Dalton off the bench.
The Kiwis did most of their damage from inside against Korea, scoring 44 points in the paint and racking up 15 second-chance points. They will look to improve on both their 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (11 assists vs 11 turnovers) and their outside shooting; the Kiwis hitting just 3/14 from outside the arc on a 21% clip.
Fatigue – and being prepared for a quick turnaround for Wednesday’s game against Lebanon – may play a factor in tonight’s game for New Zealand; particularly for Davidson who played all 40 minutes versus Korea. This could see Tall Ferns head coach Guy Molloy dig deeper into this bench tonight, with young bigs Esra McGoldrick, Parris Mason and Ritorya Tamilo all in line to see action, along with veteran Josie Trousdell (nee Stockill) and Grace Hunter a possibility to make her Tall Ferns FIBA debut tonight.
Meanwhile China come into tonight’s game fresh off a 89-44 drubbing over Lebanon on Monday. Xu Han with 17 points and 10 rebounds in only 21 minutes of play, while Song Gao amassed 15 points (on 7/11 shooting from the field) and 6 rebounds of her own. While China rely on an imposing frontline of 6’9” centre Han and forward Gao to dominate their opponents, they also play a highly structured and efficient offense – as evidenced by their 29 assists off of 36 field goals and only 8 turnovers against Lebanon.
New Zealand has previously faced China twice in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup; a 44-67 loss in the 2019 edition and a 48-77 result back in 2017.
The Tall Ferns play China from 7pm NZT on Tuesday 27 June, in their second game of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023. Watch this game live – and free – on Spark Sport, or follow the game here.
FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023 – Tall Ferns Schedule:
Mon 26 June – Tall Ferns vs Korea, 1pm NZT (won 66-64)
Tue 27 June – Tall Ferns vs China, 7pm NZT
Wed 28 June – Tall Ferns vs Lebanon, 1pm NZT
Tall Ferns Squad – FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2023:
Stella Beck, 57 caps
Tayla Dalton, 6 caps
Penina Davidson, 58 caps
Grace Hunter, 5 caps
Charlisse Leger-Walker, 37 caps
Krystal Leger-Walker, 24 caps
Parris Mason, 0 caps
Esra McGoldrick, 7 caps
Tera Reed, 12 caps
Ritorya Tamilo, 4 caps
Josie Trousdell, 36 caps
Tahlia Tupaea, 1 cap