When Akiene-Tera Reed knocked down a mid-range jump shot midway through the final quarter of Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) historic 81-69 victory against University of Massachusetts on Monday, little did she know she was creating two unique accomplishments.
For the team it meant a first Atlantic 10 Championship title and for Reed it was a move to third on an all-time scoring list containing some of New Zealand’s finest players.
Having been beaten the previous two years in the championship game, VCU made no mistake in this season’s final, claiming a first ever Atlantic 10 Championship. That victory secured the team a spot at the NCAA Tournament.
Reed was hugely influential in the must-win game, scoring 12 points (3/6FG, 6/8FT) and adding five rebounds, three assists and a game-high four steals.
Her mid-range jumper took her to 1455 collegiate points for VCU, meaning she passed Kirk Penney to be the third-highest points scorer for Kiwis in NCAA Division I basketball.
Reed was certainly surprised to hear she had surpassed Penney’s record set at the University of Wisconsin.
“I feel immensely proud to have passed a record held by such a great player as Kirk,” she said.
“I also passed Stella’s (Beck) total, a player I have had the privilege of playing with for the Tall Ferns,” said Reed.
Penney was full of praise for Reed’s achievements.
“Tera’s body of work at VCU shows she has understood and completed the huge jumps necessary for a Kiwi to compete at the Division I level. As a result, she is carving out opportunities for the next generation of New Zealand women.
“I congratulate her on the success she has enjoyed at college and holding the New Zealand flag high.”
He helped the Badgers earn trips to the NCAA Tournament in all of his four years at Wisconsin during 1999 to 2003, including a Final Four appearance in his freshman year.
Penney says he’s delighted that Reed will finally get the chance to enjoy the experience of competing at the Big Dance.
“I wish her the very best for VCU’s game against Indiana in the NCAA Tournament next week.”
That first-round tie will be on 21 March with VCU carrying the #13 seed and Indiana #4.
Reed says she is elated that VCU will be playing on the college basketball’s biggest stage.
“I’m very, very excited, happy and proud. I am feeling so many emotions as this has taken us three years to finally win the championship game.
“For us to be the first team in VCU school history to win the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship, and do it in my last year, is the best feeling in the world as we have worked so hard to get to this point.
“I’m beyond excited to go dancing and experience the NCAA Tournament,” she enthused.
The other seven Kiwis involved in the Big Dance are also in action in the coming days.
Krystal and Charlisse Leger-Walker (Washington State), Kaylee Smiler and Tegan Graham (BYU) and Tara Manumaleuga (Arizona) play their first-round games on 22 March.
At the men’s tournament, Tobias Cameron (Abilene Christian) plays on 20 March while Thomas Webley (University of Hartford) take on #1 Baylor a day earlier.
Erin Rooney holds first place with 1684 points on the previously mentioned all-time scoring list, with Megan Compain occupying second with 1497 points.
NZ leading scorers in NCAA Division I basketball.
- 1648 | Erin Rooney (Monmouth University Hawks, 2009-11/Fordham University Rams, 2012-14)
- 1497 | Megan Compain (St Joseph’s University Hawks, 1993-97)
- 1463* | Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth Rams, 2017-21)
- 1454 | Kirk Penney (University of Wisconsin Badgers, 1999-2003)
- 1439 | Stella Beck (St Mary’s College Gaels 2014-18)
- 1195 | Micaela Cocks (University of Oregon Ducks, 2006-10)
- 1167 | Ashleigh Karaitiana (University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine, 2012-16)
- 1116 | Tai Webster (University of Nebraska Huskers, 2013-17)
- 1114 | Craig Bradshaw (Winthrop University Eagles, 2003-7)
- 1096 | Jillian Harmon (Stanford University Cardinals, 2005-09)
- 1089 | Tessa Boagni (California State University, Northridge Matadors 2014-18)
- 1081 | Josie Stockill (Colgate University Raiders, 2012-16)
- 1006 | Chevannah Paalvast (Monmouth University Hawks, 2010-14)
- 973 | Rob Loe (University of St Louis Billikens, 2010-14)
*Denotes still playing at college.