The Tall Ferns have finished sixth at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Bengaluru after a disappointing 65-45 loss to Chinese Taipei in the 5th/6th play-off game.
A horror first half saw New Zealand fall 20 points behind and although they briefly pulled the deficit back to 11 points early in the second half they were unable to maintain any offensive momentum.
A lackluster performance was illustrated by the shooting statistics – 15 from 64 (23%) from the field including just 2 from 21 (9%) threes.
Jillian Harmon and Kalani Purcell, the Tall Ferns standout players at the tournament, both had a shooting performance to forget – an identical 1 from 9 attempts apiece.
The Tall Ferns only had four free throws from Kalani Purcell to show for their efforts in the opening quarter as they were blitzed 20-4 in the first stanza. The Kiwis shooting stats at the end of the period made for painful reading – 0 from 14 attempts.
Micaela Cocks scored from the field in the opening minute of the second frame to reboot the stalled scoreboard.
In the pool game played between these two teams earlier in the week the Tall Ferns had to come from 17 points behind to secure the win – in this one they fell 20 points behind (30-10) after 15 minutes.
The position improved marginally in the closing stages of the first half as Toni Edmondson and Cocks scored a pair of baskets each however Chinese Taipei still led 33-19 at the interval.
Edmondson and Harmon baskets pulled the Tall Ferns to within 11 points (34-23) but defensive lapses allowed Taipei to regain control and extend their lead out to 42-25.
Josie Stockill scored from her own offensive rebound and Cocks made a corner three but Taipei were in control at three-quarter time leading 48-32.
Purcell once again took her rebounding count into double figures but her shooting woes, like that of her colleagues, continued.
Teenage guard Zara Jillings scored her first points in a Tall Ferns singlet late in the game but that was one of the few bright moments in a game that most will want to forget.
Tall Ferns head coach Kennedy Kereama thought tiredness was a factor.
“The energy was there at the start but when shots don’t drop it drains you and I think fatigue really got to us today. However we will be better for the experience of playing in the Asia Cup.”
The Tall Ferns programme will now go into recess before resuming in April at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. The Women’s Basketball tournament at the Games will be an eight team event involving Australia, Canada, India, Mozambique, Jamaica, England, Malaysia and New Zealand beginning on April 5th.
Tall Ferns 45 – Cocks 10p/8r, Purcell 8p/10r, Edmondson 8, Paalvast 4, Harmon 4, Stockill 4, Bygate 3, Franklin 2, Jillings 2
Chinese Taipei 65 – P Huang 10, H Bao 10, Y Lin 9
In other news from the Asia Cup the Final involving Australia and defending champions Japan will be held later on Saturday.
The Philippines consigned DPR of Korea to the B Division at the next World Cup after winning the 7th/8th play-off game 78-63