On the back of a convincing second half performance the New Zealand Tall Ferns have kept their William Jones Cup aspirations on track with a 97-78 win against Chinese Taipei B on Friday.
The Tall Ferns led by just a single point at half-time but a dominant second half performance made it three wins from three outings for the Kiwis.
“It was a very impressive second half display to beat, as it turns out, the stronger of the two Chinese Taipei teams.
“We blew it out in the second half scoring 57 points to claim a comfortable victory,” said Molloy.
“All of our players played a good role but I felt the MVP was probably Ella Fotu who played exceptionally good defence and executed her role in offence beautifully and had officially six assists but I’m sure it was more and she also scored six points.
“Then there was the other usual suspects, Micaela Cocks, Stella Beck, Penina Davidson and Charlisse (Leger-Walker) with everyone taking the court,” added Molloy.
For the third consecutive game Cocks led the New Zealand scoring. The tournament’s leading scorer dropped 21 points in the opener against the Philippines, 20 yesterday against Korea and 21 points again today – the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze medallist converted 7 from 12 from the floor and made all five free-throw attempts.
Also impressive was Beck who missed just one shot on her way to 18 points (9/10FG) and added 5 assists and 4 steals. Davidson posted 15 points and 9 rebounds and Leger-Walker was the fourth Kiwi in double figures with 13 points. In addition there were productive contributions from Tessa Boagni (9 points) and Kalani Purcell (8 points and 8 rebounds).
“The small, fast, accurate shooters of Chinese Taipei gave us issues in the first half as did their pressing and forcing defence but we found a way we needed to play them and were able to deliver the ball inside without a lot of opposition in the second half to claim a comfortable victory,” said a contented Molloy.
Cocks had a dozen first half points with New Zealand ahead 40-39 at the interval.
Beck and Davidson scored 10 points apiece in the third as the Tall Ferns stretched their advantage to 73-59 at the three-quarter mark.
Rookies Amy West and Zoe Richards both got on the scoresheet in the final spell as the Tall Ferns registered an eighth consecutive William Jones Cup victory – three in this tournament to add to the five in the title winning run last year.
Once again Molloy will have been reasonably happy with the shooting stats – 39% (9/23) from beyond the three-point arc and 63% (30/48) 2-point makes.
He will also have been happier with the turnover count – down to a more acceptable 14.
New Zealand will face Chinese Taipei A on Saturday followed by a potential title deciding match-up with Japan on Sunday.
NZ 97 – M Cocks 21, S Beck 18/5a/4st, P Davidson 15/9r, C Leger-Walker 13, T Boagni 9, K Purcell 8/8r, E Fotu 6/6a, A West 4, Z Richards 3
Chinese Taipei B 78 – L Huang 19, W Chen 18
William Jones Cup schedule (tip-off times NZT).
24 July New Zealand v Philippines, WON 106-72
25 July New Zealand v Korea, WON 73-61
26 July New Zealand v Chinese Taipei B, WON 97-78
27 July New Zealand v Chinese Taipei A, tip-off 10pm
28 July New Zealand v Japan, tip-off 8pm