The Sky Sport Tall Ferns pulled away in the second half to record a comfortable 75-57 win against the Philippines on Thursday night in their third and final pool game at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup in Bangalore.
The win ensured the Tall Ferns finished in third spot in Group B. This means they will face the second placed team in Group A, most likely Korea, in a qualifying semi-final on Friday for a spot in the top four.
Naturally Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy was pleased with the result.
“It was a much improved defensive effort with Chevannah Paalvast and Kalani Purcell really strong for us at that end. There was a little bit of a change in style because all of a sudden we went from being the undersized team in our first two games to being the bigger stronger team.
“We had to re-focus our offence to try and throw the ball inside a lot more than we have which required a slight adjustment.
“There were some signs that the shooting has started to turn the corner and improve. We had a better field goal percentage tonight (25 from 71 at 35%) but still not at the level we are used to. We were well led by Tessa Boagni with a game high 16 points and Natalie Taylor (14 points),” added Molloy.
Playing their third game in as many days the Tall Ferns were a little slow to get going and found themselves 15-14 down at quarter time.
The introduction of Boagni turned the tide in favour of the Tall Ferns. The Canterbury Wildcats centre reeled off 11 points in the second period as New Zealand established a 39-32 lead heading into the half-time break.
The Tall Ferns increased their advantage to double figures early in the third frame and with Taylor scoring 14 points (4/13 3PG), Charlisse Leger-Walker, Micaela Cocks and Ashleigh Karaitiana) all finding their scoring touch the Tall Ferns were always in control.
Earlier triples from Taylor and Karaitiana had complimented Boagni’s work in the paint as the Tall Ferns closed the first half strongly.
The Philippines were tenaciously hanging on in the third before Cocks, who had sat out most the first half with three fouls, connected from behind the arc with the final shot of the frame to make the Tall Ferns lead a dozen points at the three-quarter mark (58-46).
A reverse lay-up from Leger-Walker opened the scoring in the final period and when Kalani Purcell (5 points,13 rebounds, 5 assists) scored after an intercept steal the Tall Ferns were in total control and cruised through the closing minutes.
- Tall Ferns 75 – T Boagni 16, N Taylor 14, M Cocks 9, C Leger-Walker 9, A Karaitiana 9, K Purcell 5/13r
- Philippines 57 – J Pontejos 15, A Bernadino 12
Box score here:
FIBA Asia Cup information including video highlights: http://www.fiba.basketball/womensasiacup/2019
SKY SPORT TALL FERNS TEAM
- Stella Beck (Melbourne Boomers)
- Tessa Boagni (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)
- Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire)
- Penina Davidson (Melbourne Boomers/Harbour Breeze)
- Toni Farnworth (Melbourne Boomers)
- Ella Fotu (Harbour Breeze)
- Ashleigh Karaitiana (Southern District Spartans, Australia)
- Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards/St Peter’s School, Cambridge)
- Chevannah Paalvast (Sunshine Coast Rip, Australia)
- Kalani Purcell (Melbourne Boomers/Auckland Dream)
- Natalie Taylor (Auckland Dream/Southern District Spartans, Australia)
- Amy West (McAlpines M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit / St Mary’s College, USA)
- Head Coach – Guy Molloy
- Assistant Coach – Aik Ho
- Assistant Coach – Jody Cameron
- Manager – Lisa Wallbutton
Asia Cup Game Schedule:
- Tuesday 24 September 5:45pm Tall Ferns vs China (00:15am Wednesday NZT): Lost 44 – 67
- Wednesday 25 September 1:15pm Tall Ferns vs Australia (19:45 NZT)
- Thursday 26 September 1:15pm Tall Ferns vs Philippines (19:45 NZT)
- Friday 27 September: Quarter Finals
- Saturday 28 September Semi Finals
- Sunday 29 September Finals