Sky Sport Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy has named a squad of 14 players for the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament next month.
For the first time since 2015, the Sky Sport Tall Ferns will play in front of home fans when they take on three of Asia’s biggest basketball nations as part of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying series, held from November 14-17 at The Trusts Arena in Auckland.
The visiting teams will be China, Korea and the Philippines. The two highest-placed teams will move on to one of four global FIBA Qualifying Tournaments in February 2020.
Basketball New Zealand High Performance Manager Leonard King is optimistic the team will perform well in front of home supporters.
“It is an exciting mix of youth and experience and all the players from the recent Asia Cup held in India have been named.”
The two players added to the twelve that played in India last month are Matangiroa Flavell and Brooke Blair.
Harbour Breeze guard Flavell, like Ella Fotu and Amy West, debuted for the Tall Ferns on the tour of Japan and Taiwan in July.
Blair returns to the Tall Ferns ranks for the first time since the 2018 William Jones Cup.
“I’m delighted to be back in the Tall Ferns squad and was really excited when Guy Molloy called me to invite me to join the squad,” Blair said.
Blair has only just returned to New Zealand after a successful season with the Rockhampton Cyclones in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL).
“I feel I had a good season in Rockhampton. We finished regular season runners-up in the QBL and I really enjoyed my time with the team, and for the most part, played pretty well.”
The form Blair refers to saw her top the Cyclones scoring, averaging 16.9 points per game. She is a renowned three-point shooter and averaged 40% or better from range in three of her four years at Idaho State University.
Her marksmanship was equally as good in Rockhampton, as she shot 42% (64/154) from beyond the arc and 81% (39/48) from the free-throw line.
Blair is also looking forward to linking up with two of her former Rangitoto College teammates Ella Fotu and Penina Davidson.
“It would be cool if all three of us were selected as I don’t think we have all been on the same team since my final year at Rangitoto.
“Playing in front of friends and family would be a fantastic experience.”
The squad will gather in Auckland prior to the tournament, where Molloy will work towards naming his playing 12.
SKY SPORT TALL FERNS SQUAD
Stella Beck (Melbourne Boomers)
Brooke Blair (Rockhampton Cyclones)
Tessa Boagni (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats)
Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire)
Penina Davidson (Melbourne Boomers/Harbour Breeze)
Toni Farnworth (Melbourne Boomers)
Matangiroa Flavell (Harbour Breeze)
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