3×3 Tall Ferns head coach, Justine Reed has named a fresh side for the upcoming FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series – this time being held in Edmonton, Canada on 29-30 July.
The squad includes Tayla Dalton, Emme Shearer, Dominique Stephens and Arielle Mackey-Williams. Dalton headlines this group as she returns to the 3×3 Tall Ferns after competing in the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup last year, while also helping the Tall Ferns to a fourth-place finish at the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup last month. Shearer, Stephens and Mackey-Williams will each be making their first appearance for the 3×3 Tall Ferns at this event.
All four of these Kiwi athletes are currently based at colleges throughout the United States; Dalton at Saint Mary’s College in California, Shearer at University of Portland in Oregon, Stephens at Rocky Mountain College in Montana and Mackey-Williams at Brigham Young University in Utah.
BBNZ High-Performance 3×3 Programmes Manager, Nikolay Mikhalchuk says that this event provides a welcome opportunity for a broader range of athletes to be part of national team 3×3 squads.
“We are always looking for ways to use these FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series events, not only to grow our FIBA 3×3 ranking points – which sets us up us to compete in more events, including the Paris Olympics in 2024 – but also to build up our base of 3×3 athletes that we can call upon,” says Mikhalchuk.
“These players are all coming from strong US colleges, and most of them have been part of our high performance programmes – in both the 3×3 and 5 on 5 space – in the past, so I’m excited to see them perform together at this event.”
Mackey-Williams is a 5’9” guard of Ngati Porou descent, who had been part of the Tall Ferns setup and New Zealand national team age groups before enrolling at Utah’s BYU in 2021. She’s also no stranger to 3×3 basketball, having won the NZ 3×3 Women’s national basketball tournament with Auckland Dream in 2020, and claiming silver for New Zealand at the 2018 U18 3×3 Asia Cup.
Mackey-Williams says she’s happy to be back on the national team radar and is looking forward to assembling with the 3×3 Tall Ferns squad next week.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience for us, going into this Women’s Series and us all being quite young and at college, it’s a closer trip for us too as Canada is just over the border,” says Mackey-Williams.
“After being in college in the US for the past two and half years, it’s great to get back into communication with Justine and BBNZ again and re-connect with the Tall Ferns programme. I’m looking forward to playing with my teammates too, I’ve actually played more against them than with them in the past; especially against Tayla back home in age groups, rep tournaments and Tall Ferns camps, also in college as both Tayla and Emme are in the same conference as me. And I remember playing with Dominique at age group level back in Waikato.”
Mackey-Williams loves how aggressive 3×3 basketball is and believes it plays to her strengths.
“I feel you can be more aggressive in 3×3 as the referees don’t call as many fouls, so you can concentrate more on your drives, and I also find there’s more of an ability to get your shot off.
“I like having to play more one on one [in 3×3] and I love the fast transition from defense to offense – I like to be aggressive on the court so I’m feel I’m able to translate how I play in the 5-on-5 setting into 3×3 really well.”
The FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series – Edmonton Stop – tips off in Edmonton, Canada from 29-30 July. The 3×3 Tall Ferns will compete against 11 other national teams at this stop, including heavyweights USA, France, Canada, China and Germany, with an official draw yet to be released.
Watch it live at www.youtube.com/fiba3x3
3×3 Tall Ferns Squad for 3×3 Women’s Series, Edmonton Stop
Tayla Dalton, Senior at Saint Mary’s College in California (NCAA Division 1)
Emme Shearer, Junior at University of Portland in Oregon (NCAA Division 1)
Dominique Stephens, Junior at Rocky Mountain College in Montana (NAIA Division 1)
Arielle Mackey-Williams, Junior at Brigham Young University in Utah (NCAA Division 1)