The Sky Sport Tall Ferns suffered defeat in their first game at the FIBA Asia Cup this morning, falling to Korea 85-69 in Amman, Jordan.
The loss can be put down to their extensive foul count and lacklustre shooting which let their opposition off the hook after a number of strong defensive stands.
A big night (29pts & 8rbs) and third quarter (4/5 3pt in Q3) from forward Isaem Choi was another notable headache for the Kiwis, who up until the second half had done a great job of limiting the baskets from outside.
Korea were the more settled outfit out of the blocks though as they converted on just under half of their attempts in the opening period. Four of their five starters got on the score sheet after the first ten minutes.
The insertion of Tessa Boagni midway through the spell paid dividends almost immediately as she went to work down low. A pair of scores from the forward along with some handy shooting from Ash Taia saw them trail by only four (24-20) heading into the second.
It was close to the same script coming out of the first break. Korea pushed the pace while the Tall Ferns struggled to get their jump shots to drop. However, they quickly identified some vulnerability in close and began to feast – 24 of their 38 first-half points were from inside the paint.
Fouls were detrimental to their cause on the defensive end though as they handed their opposites 18 chances from the charity stripe, 16 of which found the bottom of the net. Those freebies ensured Korea, who had a poorer field goal percentage at that stage, kept their lead at the half (46-38).
A Mary Goulding three just after the interval drew some much-needed applause from her teammates on the pine, but her make from distance was superseded by four triples from Choi.
As previously mentioned, the forward notched 16 of her 29 in the third and bumped her side’s advantage out to 13 with only a quarter left to play.
The Tall Ferns tried admirably to put a dent in their deficit in the final spell, but their output was matched and bettered by their foe.
There is little to no time to dwell on the undesirable result though with their next match tipping off in just over 17 hours’ time. They take on Japan later today, who trounced India 136-46 in the competition’s opening fixture.
The last time the two sides met was back in 2019 where the Japanese prevailed 95-63. Tune into Māori Television at 8PM (NZST) to see how the next battle unfolds.
Tall Ferns (69) lost to Korea (85) – BOX SCORE
Tall Ferns: Penina Davidson (21pts & 11rbs), Kalani Purcell, (8pts & 7rbs), Tessa Boagni (8pts & 5rbs).
Korea: Isaem Choi (29pts & 8rbs), Hyejin Park (20pts, 11rbs & 6rbs), Danbi Kim (12pts & 4ast).