The New Zealand U17 Women’s National team were defeated 87-49 by Japan in their third game at the FIBA Asian Championship, in Amman, Jordan on Monday.
As they had against Australia, New Zealand showed in glimpses that they can foot it with a couple of the best teams in the world. But it is the consistency of performance which New Zealand coach Lori McDaniel will be looking to extract from her young team moving forward.
New Zealand were within a single point of their opponents two minutes into the second half, before Japan – who are 7th on the FIBA world rankings and medallists at all five previous U17 Asian Champs – dominated proceedings thereafter.
Mainland Pouakai guard Maia Jones top scored for New Zealand with 15 points to accompany 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Lily Taulelei posted a dozen and Layla Cameron was next highest with 8 points (3/5FG).
Having been forced to the sidelines in the previous game against Korea thanks to a nasal injury, Taulelei was injected into the starting five. Her impact was immediate, with her making the first basket of the game. And it was Cameron with the last score of a-fast paced opening quarter, which saw New Zealand ahead 20-19.
Canterbury’s Karereatua Williams scored the opening points of the second period before Japan enjoyed an 10-2 run to lead 29-24. Jones got the Kiwis back on the board, but scoring became an issue as the half wore on. Testimony to their defensive resilience, New Zealand trailed by just 6 points at half-time (35-29) despite having committed 17 turnovers.
New Zealand twice closed to within one point courtesy of Jones and Cameron, before Japan regained control with a further scoring burst to establish a 54-39 lead. That advantage assumed match-winning proportions by the three-quarter mark, as New Zealand were outscored 30-14 in the stanza; the Japanese squad’s defensive intensity ramped up a couple of notches to deny the kiwis scoring opportunities.
The final quarter was largely academic, as New Zealand began eyeing their final round-robin game against India on Tuesday. A win in that game will cement a top four finish at the Asian Championship and with it a place at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup next month.
New Zealand 49 – Jones 15pts, Taulelei 12, Cameron 8pts & 6rebs, Williams 3pts, Tamilo 2pts, Rean 2pts, Clarken 2pts, Pateman 2pts, Leger-Walker 2pts
Japan 87 – K Tanaka 16pts, I Higashi 16pts
New Zealand Schedule: (times given are local in New Zealand).
- Friday June 24 v Korea (W 80-63)
- Saturday June 25 v Australia (L 77-57)
- Monday June 27 v Japan L (87-49)
- Tuesday June 28 v India at 8.15pm
- Wednesday June 29 – Semi-Finals (time TBC)
- Thursday June 30 – Final & 3rd/4th play-off games (time TBC)
The Asian Championship, postponed from 2021 due to Covid, doubles as a Qualifying Tournament for the U17 Women’s FIBA World Cup to be played in Hungary, July 9-17. The top four teams in Jordan will qualify for the Word Cup.
All games will be shown live via https://nz.basketball/tv/
Links to the streaming, rosters, statistics and live stats can be found here: https://www.fiba.basketball/asia/u16women/2022
U17 Women’s National Team
Ivy Brown – North Canterbury
Layla J Cameron – New Zealand
Waimanu Clarken – Basketball Auckland
Maia Jones – Nelson Basketball
Cassidy Lacey-Rameka – Rotorua Basketball Association
Tannika Leger-Walker – Waikato Basketball
Carly Ohia – Rotorua Basketball Association
Amy-Lee Pateman – Harbour Basketball
Ashlyn Rean – North Canterbury
Ritorya Tamilo – Basketball Auckland
Lily Taulelei – Wellington Basketball Association
Karereatua Williams – Canterbury
Unable to travel due to injury
Elise Gilbert – Waikato Basketball
Lauren Whittaker – Canterbury
Head Coach – Lori McDaniel
Assistant Coach – Pina Lissaman
Assistant Coach – Ryan Dubbledam
Team Manager – Jemma Lawton
Physio – Kylie Cox
Team Doctor – Dr Kaylie Baker