The New Zealand Tall Ferns lost 44-67 to China this morning, in their opening game at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup in Bangalore.
Veteran guard Micaela Cocks was the only New Zealand player in double figures scoring 10 points (2/5 3PG). She received solid support from Tessa Boagni and Chevannah Paalvast with 7 points apiece whilst Stella Beck and Penina Davidson both scored 6 points.
It was a disappointing shooting night for the Kiwis who made just 4 from 21 attempts (19%) from beyond the arc and 17 from 70 (24%) from the field overall.
“We had a really ugly shooting night, certainly not up to the standards we would usually have and expect,’ lamented Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy.
“We missed a very high number of close-in shots and semi-contested layups that we really needed to make to keep the score board ticking along, also we were really cold from the three-point line,” said Molloy.
However Molloy was more than happy with his team’s defensive effort.
“Our defence was extraordinary in the first-half, keeping China to 8 points at quarter-time and 21 points at the half was exceptional. Lack of scoreboard pressure by ourselves let them loose a little bit at the end,” he added.
Things had looked promising for the Kiwis approaching half-time as a Beck triple gave them a 17-15 lead, but Chinese guard Yuan Li nailed consecutive threes to give the Asian heavyweights a 21-17 lead at the interval.
Paalvast made the opening score for New Zealand in the second half after a Boagni steal but by the time Davidson added another couple of points China had stretched out to a 35-21 advantage.
Davidson trimmed the Chinese advantage to nine points (38-29) but the world #7 ranked team led 42-29 at three-quarter time.
Micaela Cocks knocked down her second three of the game early in the final quarter and when Toni Farnworth connected with a scything lay up the Tall Ferns were only ten points adrift (53-43) with three minutes to play.
However China outscored New Zealand 14-1 down the stretch as the Tall Ferns challenge faded.
- Tall Ferns 44 – M Cocks 10/3a, T Boagni 7, C Palvaast 7
- China 67 – T Shao 13, Y Li 13
New Zealand play Australia (#3 in the world) tonight and round out pool play on Thursday against the Philippines (#47). New Zealand hold a world ranking of 42nd.
FIBA Asia Cup information including video highlights: http://www.fiba.basketball/womensasiacup/2019
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