The Sky Sport Tall Ferns have finished fifth at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup after beating Chinese Taipei 74-59 in the 5th/6th place classification game in Amman, Jordan this morning.
Dominant displays from Kalani Purcell (12 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals) and Penina Davidson (26 points and 7 rebounds) ensured New Zealand would get the better of a team ranked two places above them (#36) on the FIBA Women’s rankings.
Mary Goulding (6 points and 8 rebounds) was given her first start at the tournament and was typically active as New Zealand forged a 9-4 lead.
Davidson had success from the post in the opening five minutes but Chinese Taipei were able to disrupt the supply to the Tall Ferns bigs and with some accurate mid-range shooting had tied proceedings at quarter time (16-16).
Charlisse Leger-Walker scored the Ferns first five points of the second quarter, with sister Krystal and Davidson also adding buckets to see the Tall Ferns stretch their lead to eight. An Ashley Taia three then bumped the advantage to double figures (31-20).
Brooke Blair had the final say of the first half with a deep jumper although it was Davidson (11 points) that led all scorers at the interval – the Tall Ferns ahead 38-29.
The Ferns began the second half with an 8-0 run and when Davidson found nothing but net from beyond the arc her team were 49-32 to the good.
Chinese Taipei made a 7-0 run of their own to work their way back into the contest before Ash Karaitiana made back-to-back scores – New Zealand with a 12-point buffer (56-44) at the last break.
Coach Guy Molloy reverted back to his starters at the commencement of the fourth period and the move worked a treat. The quintet of Goulding, Purcell, Davidson and the Leger-Walker sisters not only put the defensive clamps on Taipei but consistently picked holes in the opposition’s defence.
Forwards Davidson and Purcell were dominating the paint at both ends of the floor and when Goulding’s hustle was rewarded with two points the Tall Ferns were sitting pretty with the scoreboard reading 68-48 in their favour with just five minutes to play.
Molloy rewarded his bench players with deserved minutes in the closing stages as his team wrapped up their participation at the tournament with a deserved win.
China will meet Japan in the Asia Cup Final tomorrow.
Tall Ferns (74) defeated Chinese Taipei (59) – BOXSCORE
Tall Ferns: Penina Davidson (26pts & 7rbs), Kalani Purcell (12pts & 10rbs), Mary Goulding (6pts & 8rbs).
Chinese Taipei: Wei-An Chen (12pts) , Hsi-Yeh Liu (9pts), I-Hsiu Cheng (8pts).