The Sky Sport Tall Ferns have picked up a 73-62 win over Poland overnight, in the fourth friendly game of their Europe Tour.
Playing at Şehit Er Mustafa Özel Sport Complex in Istanbul for the first time, the Tall Ferns raced out to a 17-9 first quarter lead and maintained an eight-point margin (34-26) heading into the half. That lead extended to as much as 15 points in the third until Poland used a 7-0 run in the final period to keep the score respectable.
Tera Reed led all scores with 24 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, with five of those boards on the offensive end. Showcasing her inside/outside game, Reed hit 3/5 from outside the arc and converted 11/13 free throws.
Charlisse Leger-Walker added 22 points, Stella Beck tallied 7 points and 6 rebounds. Krystal Leger-Walker added 6 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in another all-around effort, with Kendell Heremaia (6) and Tayla Dalton (5) also contributing.
For Poland, 6’7” centre Kamila Borkowska scored 17 points and 7 rebounds, Kamila Jakubiak added 9 points and 6 rebounds and Euroleague point guard Weronika Gadja tallied 7 points and 7 assists.
Despite missing two key bigs in Penina Davidson and Ritorya Tamilo (rest), the Kiwis used a superior defensive effort to keep Poland at bay, holding them to 4/26 shooting (15%) from behind the arc while forcing Poland into 18 turnovers – thanks in part to their 10 steals. New Zealand also pulled down an impressive 43 rebounds, including 19 on the offensive end.
Jody Cameron, who is head coach for the Tall Ferns during their Europe Tour – due to Guy Molloy’s NBL commitments back in New Zealand – says that the three previous friendlies against Serbia helped prepare the squad for facing Poland.
“Those games against Serbia were a great hit-out for the team, a much-needed test on where we were with our systems and level of play,” says Cameron.
“There’s great benefits for us being here and playing against teams the calibre of Serbia and Poland; this is where we want to be all the time. The European style of play is somewhat new to us and it’s what we need to continue our success and development for when we compete on the world stage.”
Cameron has also been impressed with how many of the younger players have stepped up their game on this tour.
“The juniors have been exceptional in their transition to international style of play, we’re really pleased with their ability to adjust to the pressure of the game – especially against a top-ten, world-class team like Serbia.”
The Tall Ferns remain in Istanbul, taking on Turkey tonight before heading home.
New Zealand 73 – Reed 24 PTS & 10 REB | C. Leger-Walker 22 PTS | Beck 7 PTS & 6 REB | Heremaia 6 PTS | Dalton 5 PTS & 5 REB | K. Leger-Walker 4 PTS & 6 REB & 4 AST | Taulelei 3 PTS | Kelman-Poto 2 PTS & 5 REB | Taia 2 PTS & 5 REB
Poland 62 – Borkowska 17 PTS & 7 REB | Jakubiak 9 PTS & 6 REB | Podgorna 8 PTS | Gadja 7 PTS & 7 AST | Trzeciak 7 PTS
Quarter scores: 17-9, 34-26, 59-45, 73-62