The Sky Sport Tall Ferns have lost 65-80 to World #8 ranked Serbia in the second friendly of their Europe Tour, showing improvement in several facets of the game while also providing their younger players with valuable minutes – all pivotal in New Zealand’s lead-up to the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup later this month.
Charlisse Leger-Walker again led the Kiwis with 17 points, shooting 4-8 from downtown as she led an improved shooting effort for New Zealand from outside the arc; the Tall Ferns shooting 11/29 from downtown at a 38% clip.
Penina Davidson added 10 points while Tera Reed impressed off the bench with 8 points and 7 rebounds. Ash Taia and Stella Beck chipped in with 7 points apiece, Krystal Leger-Walker added 6 and Grace Hunter 5; Tayla Dalton also providing a spark off the bench with 3 points and team-high 4 assists.
Serbia were led by centre Tina Krajisnik’s 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Jovana Nogic, Yvonne Anderson and Mina Djordjevic each added 13 points; Anderson also with 6 assists.
The Tall Ferns were able to hold Serbia to 3/15 shooting from beyond the arc, but the Europeans countered by pounding the ball inside to Krajisnik and their other bigs to register a 30-18 advantage in the paint. This strategy allowed the home team to shoot better overall from the field (46% to the Kiwi’s 36%), including 55% from inside the arc; the Serbians also getting to the free throw line a whopping 30 times compared to 21 for New Zealand.
The game also provided a chance for the younger bigs to get valuable minutes, with Ritorya Tamilo (2 points and a block) and Lilly Taulelei both seeing action.
New Zealand will be aiming to pick up a win in their third and final game against Serbia tonight, before heading to Istanbul for friendly games versus Turkey and Poland.
New Zealand 64 – C. Leger-Walker 17 PTS | Davidson 10 PTS | Reed 8 PTS & 7 REB | Taia 7 PTS | Beck 7 PTS | K. Leger-Walker 6 PTS | Hunter 5 PTS | Dalton 3 PTS & 4 AST | Tamilo 2 PTS
Serbia 83 – Krajisnik 14 PTS & 10 REB | Yvonne Anderson 13 PTS & 6 AST | Nogic 13 PTS | Djordjevic 13 PTS
Quarter scores: 16-15, 35-29, 56-48, 80-65.