Team Beck will take on Team Davidson in the Sky Sport Tall Ferns Showcase game at Trusts Arena Saturday at 5.00pm.
Stella Beck and Penina Davidson are the two most capped Tall Ferns in the 24-player squad that have been in training camp since Monday.
Beck has made 47 international appearances with Davidson one more at 48 and it’s appropriate that the pair take the captaincy reins of the two teams.
Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy had spoken to the pair, before the week began, urging them to share the expectations and team values that are a big part of the Tall Ferns culture.
“We’ve got team values that we uphold within the Tall Ferns and, for those coming into this environment for this first time, it’s a chance to learn about those,” Beck had stated at the beginning of the week.
“Four key points will be enjoyment, positivity, improvement and competitiveness. We’ve talked about these aspects for a long time and they’ve been part of this team since before I made the squad. We try to carry those values through and bring them to every training. Players learn embrace those core values and uphold them,” Beck added.
Team Beck will boast a strong connection with St Mary’s College, California. The captain enjoyed an outstanding four-year career playing for the Gaels before embarking on her professional career, Amy West is headed back shortly for her sophomore year and Tayla Dalton will be joining her as she begins her freshman year.
Zara Jillings and Kendell Heremaia have enjoyed championship-winning success at Fordham University and like Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth University) will be playing Atlantic 10 Conference basketball for a fourth and final year in 2020-21.
Ashleigh Kelman-Poto, aged just 28, is the senior player on Team Beck and like Emme Shearer, Ella Fotu and Dalton played for Harbour Breeze last year.
The Breeze were beaten by Auckland Dream in the 2019 WBC Grand Final and the sole representative from the championship-winning Dream team, Sharne Robati, suits up for Team Beck.
The rest of the Team Beck squad is made up of former Paraparaumu College standout Jacinta Beckley (Sunbury Jets) and the only player on either team who is still at school. 17-year old Arielle Mackey-Williams attends Tai Wananga Ki Ruakura in Hamilton and is currently training with Auckland Dream.
Team Beck lineup:
Stella Beck (Melbourne Boomers), Jacinta Beckley (Sunbury Jets), Tayla Dalton, Ella Fotu, Emme Shearer, Ashleigh Kelman-Poto (all Harbour Breeze), Kendell Heremaia, Zara Jillings (both Fordham University), Arielle Mackey-Williiams (Tai Wananga Ki Ruakura / Auckland Dream), Sharne Robati (Auckland Dream), Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth University), Amy West (St Mary’s College, California).
Coach – Aik Ho
Team Davidson will feature the Canterbury Wildcats duo of Ashlee Strawbridge and Helen Matthews. Both are camp rookies as are Tanaka Gapare (Wellington), Jazz Kailahi-Fulu (Harbour Breeze) and Ella Bradley.
Bradley has a telepathic understanding with Charlisse Leger-Walker the pair having played countless games together for St Peter’s School Cambridge, Waikato age-group teams and Waikato Wizards. Expect Team Davidson to employ some pick and roll action involving the two.
Otago Goldrush forward Zoe Richards, Mary Goulding (Bendigo Spirit) and Matangiroa Flavell made their Tall Ferns debuts last year and will be keen to further impress the international selectors.
Flavell played for Harbour Breeze last season but is expected to turn out for Waikato Wizards in the 2020 season.
Brooke Blair played for Rockhampton Cyclones in 2019 but given the Covid-19 travel restrictions could well join captain Davidson in Breeze colours later in the year.
Rounding out Team Davidson is guard Kayla Manuirirangi. The former Taranaki standout graduated from Tulane University earlier this year.
Team Davidson line-up:
Penina Davidson, Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu (both Harbour Breeze), Brooke Blair (Rockhampton Cyclones), Ella Bradley, Charlisse Leger-Walker, Matangiroa Flavell (all Waikato Wizards), Tanaka Gapare (Wellington), Mary Goulding (Bendigo Spirit), Kayla Manuirirangi (Tulane University), Helen Matthews, Ashlee Strawbridge (both Canterbury Wildcats), Zoe Richards (Otago Goldrush).
Coach – Jody Cameron.
- The Sky Sport Tall Ferns Showcase will be played on Saturday 1 August at The Trusts Arena at 5pm, ahead of the Sal’s NBL Grand Final at 7pm. Tickets via TicketFairy.com. Adults, $20. Students $10. Children under 12, $5.
- Official website for the Sal’s NBL: NZNBL.basketball
- Follow the Tall Ferns social media channels: @TallFerns Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Hashtag: #TallFerns