A new-look 3×3 Tall Ferns side will compete in the FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series 2023 in Fribourg, Switzerland from tomorrow night, including a trio of Tall Ferns who played key roles in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in Sydney.
The squad is confirmed as: Charlisse Leger-Walker, Krystal Leger-Walker, Sharne Pupuke-Robati and Tera Reed, led by 3×3 Tall Ferns head coach, Justine Reed.
Created in 2019, the FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series is the number one event on the 3×3 women’s professional circuit. 2023 is shaping up to be the biggest-ever 3×3 Women’s Series season with 23 stops around the world – and over 1 million in prize money – up for grabs.
Both Leger-Walker sisters and Reed come into this team directly from the Tall Ferns Asia Cup squad, which finished fourth in the 2023 edition of this tournament. Krystal Leger-Walker and Pupuke-Robati also both competed at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in April this year, playing a key role in the 3×3 Tall Ferns earning a silver medal; Pupuke-Robati earning all-Tournament honours for her efforts.
Charlisse Leger-Walker says that moving from 5 on 5 to the 3×3 space naturally requires a basketball ‘mindset shift’ for the Tall Ferns athletes.
“3×3 is such a different game and there’s a lot of technical things we’ll have to get used to again – but I love 3×3 basketball, it’s such a fast-paced game and there’s a lot more freedom for me as a player to do different things,” says Leger-Walker.
“Our team is very experienced in the 3×3 space and I’m very confident and excited in our abilities, and for me coming off the back of Asia Cup it’s going to be physically hard to get going but I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Leger-Walker believes that one advantage the 3×3 Tall Ferns will have coming into this tournament is chemistry.
“3×3 is about chemistry, so playing with Krystal and Tera at Asia Cup and having played with Sharne in age groups, I know them all really well so that’ll translate well on the court as we get along and we know what our strengths and weaknesses are.
“It’s great to be able to play with my sister Krystal especially, she’s an amazing 3×3 player – one of the better 3×3 players in New Zealand as her style of game translates so well into the 3×3 scene. We haven’t played 3×3 together in a while so it’s going to be fun to be on the court with her again in this format.”
New Zealand joins the FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series for its 10th stop in Fribourg, Switzerland from 6-7 July as one of 16 teams, which includes national 3×3 teams such as Canada, France, Italy and Japan as well as Club-based squads from China, Hungary, Switzerland and Azerbaijan.
The 3×3 Tall Ferns will play in a pair of Qualification games in order to proceed into the main draw, facing Israel and Portugal tomorrow night. Should they advance into the main draw, they will face two more (yet to be determined) teams, with the winner coming out of this Stop earning a substantial amount of prize money. All games will be broadcast live on www.youtube.com/fiba3x3, with more information available at https://womensseries.fiba3x3.com/2023/fribourg
New Zealand has also been confirmed for the Edmonton, Canada Stop on 29 & 30 July for the FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series, with other stops expected to be confirmed in the future.
Schedule – FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series 2023, Fribourg Stop
Thu 6 July, 3×3 Tall Ferns vs Israel, 9.20pm NZT
Thu 6 July, 3×3 Tall Ferns vs Portugal, 10.10pm NZT
Watch games live on www.youtube.com/fiba3x3
3×3 Tall Ferns Squad – FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series 2023, Fribourg Stop
Charlisse Leger-Walker, Washington State Cougars
Krystal Leger-Walker, Northern Kāhu
Sharne Pupuke-Robati, Mainland Pouākai
Tera Reed, Northern Kāhu
Head coach – Justine Reed