Tall Ferns lose to Japan on the buzzer

New Zealand Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy predicted his team would learn quickly from the 30-points defeat at the hands of the Japanese national team in the first game between the two teams on Wednesday. Only 48 hours later and the Tall Ferns have come within a whisker of defeating World #10 ranked Japan. The Kiwis just beaten in the final play, 77-75.

It looked as if the Tall Ferns, led by Chevannah Paalvast (14pts), Micaela Cocks (12pts), Toni Farnworth (10 pts) and Kalani Purcell (9 points and 12 rebounds) would pull off a notable win leading by a point deep into the final minute.

“We were one point up with possession and just 14 seconds left to play but a bit of a contentious call gave the ball back to the Japanese. They ran a play which Kalani Purcell got a nice deflection on to force the ball out of bounds. They inbounded the ball with less than a second to play and a Japanese player hit a step-back three-pointer,” explained Molloy.

“Today we concentrated on getting the senior core of players into the rotation – the scoring spread was excellent and we executed our offence very well. We shot better than the previous two games and we continue to build our defensive platform.

“The team played terrific defence and led at every quarter,” said Molloy.

The team will train again on Saturday and enjoy a rest day on Sunday. On Monday they head to Taiwan to defend the William Jones Cup with the first game on Wednesday against the Philippines.

“The team is progressing well and this has been good preparation for the William Jones Cup, added Molloy.

Ultimately the Tall Ferns are working towards the 2020 Olympics qualification and this is an early step for the young team.

“One of the goals is to really focus on and improve our defence as we head towards the big FIBA qualification events later in the year and also to head to the William Jones Cup very well prepared with the hope of winning a number of games there,” said Molloy.

Final score:

• Japan 77
• Tall Ferns 75 – C Paalvast 14, M Cocks 12, T Farnworth 10/5a, K Purcell 9/12r, S Beck 8, C Leger-Walker 8, P Davidson 8, T Boagni 6


1.       Stella Beck (Launceston Tornadoes/Melbourne Boomers)
2.       Tessa Boagni (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)
3.       Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire)
4.       Penina Davidson (Harbour Breeze/Melbourne Boomers)
5.       Toni Farnworth (Ringwood Hawks/Perth Lynx)
6.       Matanigiroa Flavell (Harbour Breeze)*
7.       Ella Fotu (Harbour Breeze)*
8.       Mary Goulding (Rockhampton Cyclones)*
9.       Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards)
10.   Esra McGoldrick (McAlpines M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit / NC State University)*
11.   Chevannah Paalvast (Sunshine Coast Rip)
12.   Kalani Purcell (Auckland Dream/Melbourne Boomers)
13.   Zoe Richards (AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush/Eckerd College)*
14.   Amy West (McAlpines M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit / Liberty University)*

Team schedule: http://www.nz.basketball/Tall-Ferns/Schedule

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Photo: www.photosport.nz