Today Basketball New Zealand announced a Sky Sport Tall Ferns Showcase game, to be played ahead of the NBL Showdown Grand Final on 1 August.
Featuring a mix of experienced and up and coming talent, 24 players will enter a week-long Tall Ferns Camp in South Auckland before the Showcase game, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.
Tall Ferns based in Australia such as Kalani Purcell, Ashleigh Karaitiana, Natalie Taylor and Toni Edmondson will not be part of the camp due to the requirement of weeks of quarantine.
Of the 24 players named for the camp, 14 have played for the Tall Ferns previously with Stella Beck and Penina Davidson the most experienced duo having 47 and 48 caps respectively.
Six of the ten uncapped players were at school last year: the Harbour duo of Tayla Dalton and Emme Shearer, Waikato’s Ella Bradley, plus Cantabrians Helen Matthews and Ashlee Strawbridge. Arielle Williams-Mackey will be less well known to New Zealand basketball followers having spent some years in Australia. She is currently in her final year of school attending Tai Wananga ki Ruakura in Hamilton. All six have played age-group basketball for New Zealand and will be striving to make the transition to the senior ranks.
Sky Sport Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy feels the upcoming camp is vital for the continuity of the national team and New Zealand high performance programme.
“The camp will expose new players to the Tall Ferns style of play, giving emerging players an insight into the team’s culture and let them see a personal vision for their own future.
“It’s also important to build momentum on the back of some outstanding basketball played at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament last November in Auckland. The Sky Sport Tall Ferns generated significant support for their athletic, fast and competitive brand of basketball, and we want this moving forward despite the present situation.”
New Zealand Basketball High Performance Manager Leonard King says the tall Ferns programme is working towards qualifying for the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Sydney Australia in October 2022.
“We have an exciting group of players that will be competing for spots on the Tall Ferns depth chart. The Showcase game will pit a New Zealand Select team against the Emerging Tall Ferns team. That will undoubtedly be an exciting game that’s loaded with talent across the floor.
Looking for a competitive silver lining in the current global climate, Molloy says the uncertainty around the global game caused by the Covid-19 pandemic may have some positive spinoffs for the domestic game.
“With much global uncertainty around travel and restrictions at borders, the New Zealand National Basketball League will provide a good platform for many outstanding players to play where they have been restricted in the past.”
Melbourne based Molloy confirmed that Sky Sports Tall Ferns assistant coaches Jody Cameron and Aik Ho will be leading the camp, with Molloy to remain in Australia given the quarantine and travel restrictions. He says some more coaches are being considered to join the camp.
The Sky Sport Tall Ferns Showcase will be played on Saturday 1 August at Trusts Stadium, Waitakere. Tip-off 5pm. The Sal’s NBL grand Final will immediately follow. Tickets cover both games and go on sale at midday today.
24-players for 2020 for Winter Camp and Sky Sport Tall Ferns Showcase:
- Stella Beck (Melbourne Boomers, Australia)
- Jacinta Beckley (Sunbury Jets, Australia)
- Brooke Blair (Rockhampton Cyclones, Australia)
- Ella Bradley (Waikato Wizards)
- Tayla Dalton (Harbour Breeze)
- Penina Davidson (Melbourne Boomers, Australia/Harbour Breeze)
- Matangiroa Flavell (Harbour Breeze)
- Ella Fotu (Harbour Breeze)
- Tanaka Gapare (Wellington)
- Mary Goulding (IK Eos, Sweden/Bendigo Spirit, Australia)
- Zara Jillings (Fordham University, USA)
- Ashleigh Kelman-Poto (Harbour Breeze)
- Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards)
- Krystal Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards/Washington State University, USA)
- Kayla Manuirirangi (Tulane University, USA)
- Arielle Williams-Mackey (Tai Wananga ki Ruakura and Auckland Dream)
- Helen Matthews (Canterbury Wildcats)
- Katelin Noyer (Fresno State University, USA)
- Sharne Robati (Auckland Dream)
- Akiene-Tera Reed (Harbour Breeze/ Virginia Commonwealth University, USA)
- Zoe Richards (Otago Goldrush/Eckerd College, USA)
- Emilia Shearer (Harbour Breeze)
- Ashlee Strawbridge (Canterbury Wildcats)
- Amy West (North Canterbury Spirit, St Mary’s College, USA)