Tall Ferns lose narrowly to Korea at Asia Cup

The Sky Sport Tall Ferns have gone down 58-52 against Korea early Saturday morning in their qualifying semi-final game at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup in Bangalore.

The loss means the Tall Ferns will face Chinese Taipei in the play-off for fifth/sixth with the game tipping-off at 10.00pm (NZT) on Saturday.

The Tall Ferns scoring was headed by Penina Davidson (12 points and 6 rebounds) and teenager Charlisse Leger-Walker (10 points). Kalani Purcell had a fine all court game with 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy was naturally disappointed with the result.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get done what we came here to do which was to make the top four so we have to settle for the fifth/sixth play-off.”

“Again our performance was plagued by some pretty poor shooting, – we missed seven free-throws, only scoring four from eleven and that’s disappointing in a game where they are precious.

“Then 2 from 16 threes at 12% meant we couldn’t make Korea pay from the perimeter, although we did get a steady supply of interior scores.

“The girls battled away defensively in only giving up 58 points but we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole enough,” reflected Molloy.

The game began at a ferocious pace with both teams employing effective denial defence. Davidson scored three times inside the paint in a first quarter edged 20-14 by Korea.

Leger-Walker, who had earlier been injected into the starting line-up, made the opening score of the second quarter and despite the influential Purcell hitting the bench with a third foul the Kiwis were able to stay in the contest and trailed by just three points (33-30) at the main break. Davidson, enjoying her best game of the tournament, had 10 points at the half.

Despite a triple from Cocks the Kiwis fell eight points behind before Davidson scored off a delicious pass from Ashleigh Karaitiana. However New Zealand only scored nine points in the third quarter and trailed 50-39 with ten minutes to play.

Karaitiana sunk a corner three to open the final frame, Boagni then scored inside, but the Tall Ferns soon found themselves adrift 56-44.

Natalie Taylor and Leger-Walker scored on consecutive plays and with three minutes to play the Kiwis trailed 58-50. An offensive rebound from Purcell presented Leger-Walker with another basket and with two minutes to play the Korean lead was trimmed to six points.

The Tall Ferns had a number of scoring opportunities in the last ninety seconds but were unable to convert any – perhaps the story of the tournament for the Kiwis. They now regroup for their fifth game in as many days when they take on Chinese Taipei.


  • Tall Ferns 52 – P Davidson 12/6r, C Leger-Walker 10, M Cocks 7, T Boagni 6
  • Korea 58 – L Kang 13, H Bae 13

Box score here:


 FIBA Asia Cup information including video highlights:  http://www.fiba.basketball/womensasiacup/2019




  • 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)STAFF
  • Head Coach – Guy Molloy
  • Assistant Coach – Aik Ho
  • Assistant Coach – Jody Cameron
  • Manager – Lisa Wallbutton

Follow the Sky Sport Tall Ferns social media channels: @TallFerns FacebookTwitterInstagram. Hashtag: #TallFerns

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) Lost 82-44
  • Thursday 26 September 1:15pm Tall Ferns vs Philippines (19:45 NZT) Won 75-57
  • Friday 27 September: Preliminary Semi-Final (00.15am Saturday 28 NZT) Lost 58-52
  • Saturday 28 September 5th/6thgame v Chinese Taipei (22.00 NZT)
  • Sunday 29 September Final