There were decisive wins for Auckland Dream, Harbour Breeze and Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats in the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) Division 1 games at the weekend. In the sole Division 2 fixture Harbour Zephyr secured a home win against the Rotorua Lady Geysers.
Saturday May 25 – Auckland Dream 98 Taranaki Thunder 57
Taranaki Thunder, without a win this season, surprised Auckland Dream in the early stages of their encounter at Epsom Girls Grammar School on Saturday night.
After conceding the first nine points the Thunder fought their way back into the contest, consecutive scores from Hayley Quinnell after Eva Langton buckets giving them a 14-13 lead although that became an 18-16 deficit after Rionne Papa and Kalani Purcell made scores.
15 year-old debutant Savannah Cook scored ten points, including a pair of threes, in the second as the hosts began to assert control and establish a 44-28 half-time lead.
The forward battle was an intriguing affair as Tayla Murray (25 points and 9 rebounds) and Rochelle Fourie (12 points and 9 rebounds) did their best to counter the more experienced Dream pairing of Rebecca van Kuyk (20 points and 4 rebounds) and Purcell.
Purcell was at her stats stuffing best accumulating 16 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals in an MVP quality performance. Her contribution, and those of Van Kuyk and Idaho Stowers gave the Dream a 79-43 advantage with ten minutes to play.
In addition to Cook, Summer-Jean Motufoua and Elianna Tuaiti were making their Dream debuts and both made scoring contributions as the Dream recorded a fifth straight win.
Dream 98 – R van Kuyk 20, K Purcell 16/14r, I Stowers 16, S Cook 16, R Papa 10
Thunder 57 – T Murray 25/9r, R Fourie 12p/9r, E Langton 6, S Cook 5
Photo credit Amanda Beets Photography
Saturday May 25 – Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats 72 AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush 39
AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush committed turnovers on their first two possessions against Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats at Cowles Stadium on Saturday night and unfortunately it was a precursor of things to come on a disappointing night for the defending champions.
The returning Soraya Umaga-Jensen put points on the board for the Gold Rush but the Wildcats were into their stride opening up a 13-5 first quarter lead.
A second three of the game from Ajiah Pepe and back to back baskets from Tessa Boagni extended the Wildcats advantage.
Hayley Gray scored against her former team but it was slim pickings for the Gold Rush who trailed 25-11 at half-time.
The scoring tempo from both teams increased in the third. Natalie Visger and Bronwyn Kjestrup were contributors for the Gold Rush but Boagni, Pepe and Tessa Morrison ensured the Wildcats lead was never threatened. The WBC’s leading scorer Marita Davydova didn’t score until midway through the third quarter but the attention she was attracting from the Gold Rush defenders opened up the space for Boagni (16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) to punish the visitors.
Boagni was pleased with the combination she is developing with Davydova. “I don’t think teams can stop both of us so whichever one is tightly marked the other is going to have a good game, it’s exciting.”
“I think Marita understands that in our league she is going to draw a big crowd which is great as it creates space for our guards and the other bigs. Tessa and Marita are hard to match up against,” reflected Wildcats Head Coach Lori McDaniel.
The lead was 47-27 in favour of the Wildcats at the three-quarter mark and they cruised through the final period to record a third win of the season and erase the disappointment of the home loss to Waikato Wizards the previous weekend.
Next up for the Wildcats is a clash with the table topping Dream in Auckland while Gold Rush face a must win encounter with the Thunder in New Plymouth.
“It should be really good, we haven’t had an away game yet, it brings out good team bonding, so it should be a good experience,” added McDaniel.
Wildcats 72 – T Boagni 16/10r, A Pepe 14, T Morrison 8, M Davydova 6/11r
Gold Rush 39 – B Kjestrup 12/7r, N Visger 10
Photo credit Gameface NZ
Sunday May 26 – Harbour Breeze 115 Taranaki Thunder 34
Backing up less than 18 hours after the defeat against Auckland, Taranaki struggled from the outset against Harbour Breeze at AUT Sports Centre on Sunday and were defeated 115-34.
Harbour had six players in double figures in the win that took them to second place on the Division 1 ladder with a 4-2 record.
Guard Matangiroa Flavell, on her way to a game high 22 points (4/7 3PG), scored the opening two baskets of the game. Eva Langton and Rochelle Fourie replied for the Thunder but it was largely one way traffic as the Breeze rattled up 31 points to lead by 18 at quarter time.
A similar pattern emerged in the second period and with Emme Shearer and Deena Franklin joining Flavell in double figures the Breeze lead was 55-21 at the interval.
Akiene-Tera Reed and Ella Fotu initiated some fine transition scores as Harbour maintained an up-tempo style to run away with the contest in the second half – Flavell, Shearer and Tayla Dalton, on her way to Mongolia for the FIBA Asia U18 3X3 at the end of the week, were the main beneficiaries.
Reed posted 14 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals in a fine all court game while fellow Tall Fern Penina Davidson dominated the glass with 13 rebounds despite the best efforts of Fourie and Tayla Murray who pulled down 6 boards apiece for the visitors.
Breeze 115 – M Flavell 22, D Franklin 20, T Dalton 15, T Reed 14/8r/8a, Y Negishi 13, E Shearer 13, P Davidson 5/13r
Thunder 34 – R Fourie 10, E Langton 8, H Coleman 5
WBC Division 1 Standings
5-0 Auckland Dream
4-2 Harbour Breeze
3-2 Waikato Wizards, Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
1-4 AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush
0-6 Taranaki Thunder
WBC Division 2
Sunday May 26 – Harbour Zephyr 74 Rotorua Lady Geysers 55
In Division 2 action the Rotorua Lady Geysers looked capable of recording an away victory at AUT Sports Centre on Sunday. After recovering from a double digit deficit they trailed by just a single point (47-46) at three-quarter time against Harbour Zephyr but ran out of steam in the final period eventually losing 74-55.
The first half was a tail of two quarters. The Zephyr were quickly out to a 6-0 lead and despite a pair of triples from Lady Geysers guard Pareunuora Pene, Jordyn Maddix and Parehuia Delemare helped Zephyr to a 23-10 quarter time lead.
The complexion of the game changed totally in the second as the Lady Geysers, led by Aroha Haumaha and Grace McCarthy embarked on a 14-0 run to take the lead.
The Zephyr went eight minutes without scoring but eventually Olivia Berry found her way to basket. Pareunuora Pene had the last say of the half, Lady Geysers ahead 28-27.
The Lady Geysers led for most of a tight third quarter but Wuanyei Ah-Hing scored the final five points of the period to give Zephyr the narrowest of leads, 47-46 at three-quarter time.
McCarthy briefly restored the Lady Geysers advantage but it was short lived as Berry, Ah-Hing and Tiarna Clarke took the game away from the visitors.
Rashaan Smith, on her WBC debut, scored late points as Zephyr eased to a third win of the season although the margin of 19 points didn’t reflect the true competitiveness of the game.
Zephyr 74 – W Ah-Hing 14, T Clarke 13, J Maddix 12, R Smith 10
Lady Geysers 55 – A Haumaha 25, P Pene 12, D Te Autu 7, G McCarthy 6
WBC Division 2 Standings
3-0 Wellington, McAlpines M10 MEGA North Canterbury Spirit
3-2 Harbour Zephyr
2-1 Capital Swish
1-3 Northland Phoenix
1-4 Rotorua Lady Geysers
0-3 South Canterbury Stealers
Article by Mike Lacey
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