The Tall Ferns are one win away from retaining the William Jones Cup after defeating hosts Chinese Taipei A 86-68 on Saturday.
A fourth win in four outings has set up a showdown with Japan on Sunday with the winners to be crowned champions as both teams boast an identical 4-0 record ahead of their final match.
The New Zealand front court trio of Penina Davidson (20 points and 7 rebounds), Kalani Purcell (17 points,13 rebounds and 4 steals) and Tessa Boagni (10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks) set the platform for another heartening win.
Other significant contributors were Micaela Cocks (11 points) and Charlisse Leger-Walker (9 points and 8 assists).
Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy was delighted with, “the blistering start,” his team made as they ended the first quarter with a 10-0 run to lead 31-19 at the first break – Purcell with 10 of the new Zealand points.
After a Mary Goulding three opened the second period scoring Chinese Taipei, ranked No 39 in the world (three places ahead of New Zealand), made a run necessitating a timeout from Coach Molloy. Ella Fotu scored a triple on the resumption and New Zealand entered the half-time break 49-32 ahead with Davidson joining Purcell in double figures.
The Kiwis ball movement was exemplary in the opening possessions of the final period enabling Cocks and Davidson to take the New Zealand lead beyond twenty although Molloy was bemused by some of the officiating in the second half.
“Some confusing interpretations and the volume of foul calls meant the game became a free throw shooting contest for the home team.
“However it was another convincing win, we got everyone out on court and played good defence.
The Ferns threatened to run away with the game in the final period but spurred on by a vocal home crowd the hosts kept pace with the Kiwis in the last ten minutes drawing the period 21 points apiece.
The Kiwis are carrying some injuries as Molloy explained.
“Unfortunately Matangiroa Flavell is probably out of the rest of the tournament with an ankle roll and Amy West is struggling to get back to full fitness but playing some minutes.
“But another good performance and we look forward to playing off tomorrow to win the tournament against the Japanese team,” added Molloy.
NZ 86 – P Davidson 20, K Purcell 17/13r/6a/4st, M Cocks 11, T Boagni 10/8r/3b, C Leger-Walker 9/8a, S Beck 6, M Goulding 5, E Fotu 5,A West 2, Z Richards 1
Chinese Taipei A 68 – S Pang 20, Y Wei 13