Less than twenty-four hours after claiming an historic win against China, the U16 New Zealand Women’s team have been beaten 99-62 by Australia in the semi-finals at the 2023 FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship.
The Aussies dominated the Kiwis from start to finish, claiming a staggering 62-25 rebounding advantage that included 26 offensive boards – allowing them to earn 25 second-chance points. Australia shot 51% (compared to 37% for the Kiwis), using their size advantage to score 62 points in the paint.
Waikimihia Douglas–Karauna led the Kiwis with 13 points on 5/10 shooting, while Rica Enriquez-Paea and Anaiya Nelson tallied 9 apiece. Keriana-Marie Hippolite chipped in 7 points, Bailey Flavell 6 and Jennifer Mailei 5; Pahylss Hokianga limited to just 2 points a night after scoring 31 against China.
New Zealand gave up the first eleven points to the Oceania Champions, before Douglas-Karauna opened the scoring for the Kiwis. When Hokianga scored following her own steal, the deficit was just four points (13-9). However Australia would break the game open with a 13-2 run to close the quarter, giving themselves an early 15-point lead.
A corner three from Mailei opened the second quarter scoring but it was largely heavy going for the Kiwis, as Australia pushed their lead out to 20-points (36-16). Enriquez-Paea nailed a triple following a possession of excellent ball movement, before Hippolite also knocked down a three. However Australia were making threes of their own, enabling them to carry a 51-29 lead into the half-time break.
Hippolite scored at the start of the second half, one in which New Zealand were at their most productive; scoring 20 points in the third. Bailey Flavell scored a brace of baskets with Graecyn Parahi, Anaiya Nelson and Douglas-Karauna converting from beyond the arc.
With Australia ahead 76-49 at three-quarter time, an Australian victory was all but assured; head coach Mel Bennett opting to limit the playing minutes of her starters in the fourth period ahead of Sunday’s bronze medal game against Chinese Taipei. Nelson was a bright spot in the final period, sinking a pair of threes and assisting on two other New Zealand baskets as the Kiwis were outscored 23-13 in the period.
Thoughts now turn to the final game of the campaign. The Kiwis may have punched a ticket to the FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup in Mexico next year, but they would dearly like to medal in Jordan. They will face Chinese Taipei – who fell 46-93 to Japan in the other semi-final – at 8pm NZT on Sunday 16 July.
New Zealand 62 – Douglas-Karauna 13 PTS| Enriquez-Paea 9 PTS & 3 STL | Nelson 9 PTS | Hippolite 7 PTS | Flavell 6 PTS | Mailei 5 PTS | Hickey 4 PTS & 5 REB | Parahi 3 PTS | Hokianga 2 PTS & 4 AST | Thompson 2 PTS | Paterson 2 PTS
Australia 99 – Somfai 25 PTS & 7 REB | Lehmann 16 PTS & 5 STL | Hodges 15 PTS & 7 REB & 6 AST | Taylor 14 PTS & 5 REB
Box Score: http://bbnz.link/d6px5
Quarter scores: 26-11, 51-29,76-49, 99-62
FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championships – NZ Draw & Results
11 July – NZL vs Japan (Lost 44-75)
12 July – Samoa vs NZL (Won 80-51)
14 July – NZL vs China (Won 95-73)
15 July – Semi-Final: NZL vs Australia (Lost 62-99)
16 July – 3rd/4th play-off vs Chinese Taipei, 8pm NZT Sun 16 July. Watch at http://nz.basketball/tv
FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship Squad – NZ
Waikimihia Douglas-Karauna, Rotorua Basketball Association
Rica-Chanel Enriquez-Paea, NZ
Bailey Flavell, Harbour Basketball
Sophia Hickey, NZ
Keriana Hippolite, NZ
Pahlyss Hokianga, Basketball Hawkes Bay
Jennifer Mailei, NZ
Anaiya Nelson, Waikato Basketball
Graecyn Parahi, Basketball Hawkes Bay
Hana Paterson, Waikato Basketball
Emma Rogers, Tauranga City Basketball
Cassidy Thomson, NZ