The Tall Ferns have earned a dominant 76-45 win over Lebanon in their third and final game of the Group phase in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, keeping their hopes of a semi-final berth alive and well.
After building a commanded 39-17 lead in the first half thanks to the scoring trio of Tahlia Tupaea, Penina Davidson and Charlisse Leger-Walker, New Zealand continued to build up their lead thanks to hot shooting from outside – hitting 11-30 from outside the arc at a 37% clip, while also outrebounding their opponents by a staggering 49-27 margin.
Tupaea led all scores with 20 on a torrid 6/9 shooting from outside, Charlisse had 19 points & 6 rebounds and Penina Davidson tallied another double-double with 13 and 13 on 5/6 shooting. Tayla Dalton added 8 points, Esra McGoldrick 6 and Tera Reed and Krystal Leger-Walker scored 5 apiece.
For Lebanon, Trinity Baptiste tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds, captain Rebecca Akl had 6 – despite being held to 1-11 shooting from the field – and Rana El-Husseini scored 8.
Coach Molloy reverted back to the same line-up he used against Korea, with Tupaea and Charlisse in at guard and Stella Beck, Tera Reed and Davidson up front.
Both teams struggling to score to open the first quarter, with scores locked at 2-all with 3 minutes played; the Tall Ferns shooting 0-6 midway through the period until Davidson scored New Zealand’s first bucket on a reverse layup. That kicked off a 9-0 run for New Zealand, with Tupaea’s first triple of the day helping put the Kiwis up 12-4. The Tall Ferns defence was in full effect throughout the quarter, as the Kiwis held Lebanon to 2/13 shooting (15%) while scoring 17 of their own.
New Zealand again struggled to score in the second quarter, until Tupaea hit back-to-back triples to extend the margin. That helped build a second 9-0 run and allowed the Kiwis to take a comfortable 39-17 lead into halftime, thanks to Davidson’s 11 & 9 and four triples from Tupaea for her 14 points. Also notable was the defensive effort from Beck; registering a block, steal and drawing a charge against the frustrated Lebanon team – who made just four made field goals at the half but converted nine free throws.
Another run from New Zealand in the third, as Beck picked up her fifth assist by finding an open Charlisse for the corner triple; following by a Davidson bucket inside and a free throws from Reed. A pair of and-1 layups from Tayla Dalton and Krystal Leger-Walker helped balloon the lead out further, with Lebanon consoled by making a pair of triples late in the quarter – after going 0-13 up to that point – to bring the score to 29-55.
Back-to-back threes from Tupaea early in the fourth put the Tall Ferns ahead 68-34; Coach Molloy electing to rest his empty his bench soon after that point by bring in Parris Mason, Ritorya Tamilo, Josie Trousdell and Grace Hunter. Charlisse finished up her 19-point effort by going on a personal 5-0 run, before heading to the bench with three minutes left – as the Tall Ferns emerged with a solid 31-point victory.
With a rest day scheduled for Thursday, the Tall Ferns now await their Group B opponent in Friday’s Qualification game – win this game and they move into the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup semi-final round for the first time. Watch this game live – and free – on Spark Sport.
New Zealand 76 – Tupaea 20 PTS | C. Leger-Walker 19 PTS & 6 REB | Davidson 13 PTS & 13 REB | Dalton 8 PTS | McGoldrick 6 PTS | C. Leger-Walker 5 PTS | K. Leger-Walker 5 PTS | Reed 5 PTS & 6 REB | Beck 5 AST
Lebanon 45 – Baptiste 11 PTS & 7 REB | El-Husseini 8 PTS | Gyokchian 6 PTS | Akl 6 PTS & 6 REB
Quarter scores: 17-6, 39-17, 55-29, 76-45.
Full box score: http://bbnz.link/d936q