Just as the Australian NBL has begun this week with a strong Kiwi contingent, so does the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).
Six current Tall Ferns will be in action when the 38th edition of the WNBL tips-off at the weekend.
Micaela Cocks begins her eighth season for Townsville Fire, currently sitting second on the Fire’s all-time appearance list having played 182 games to date. The Fire has won three WNBL Championships (2015, 2016 and 2018) during her time at the club.
Stella Beck joins Cocks at Townsville following her successful four year career at St Mary’s College California. Unfortunately Beck will be side-lined for the first couple of weeks of the season as she recovers from a stress fracture in her foot.
Also debuting in the WNBL after a successful college career in the States is Penina Davidson. The former University of California standout will turn out for Adelaide Lightning this season.
First up for Adelaide is an away trip to take on Perth Lynx who boast veteran Toni Farnworth in their line-up. The Tall Ferns wing begins her seventh campaign with the Lynx and her tenth WNBL season overall having debuted in the league for Christchurch Sirens back in 2007.
There is a strong Tall Ferns connection at Melbourne Boomers with two players and two coaches on the staff. Kalani Purcell, who made a strong showing in her first season with the Boomers, is joined this season by Josie Stockill. Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy leads the Boomers coaching staff and this season he has recruited Kennedy Kereama – his predecessor as Tall Ferns Head Coach – as one of his assistants at Melbourne. The Boomers finished runners-up to Townsville last season and will be looking to return to the play-offs come January.
Each club plays 21 regular season games with the WNBL compressed into 15 rounds beginning tonight and concluding mid-January.
In Europe, Tall Fern forward Jillian Harmon has begun her ninth season in the Italian Serie A having transferred from Napoli to Ragusa during the off-season. Harmon scored 18 points as Ragusa got off to a winning start beating Sesto SG 78-51 in the opening game of the season.
It wasn’t such good news for Jacinta Beckley debuting for BEAC Ujbuda in the Hungarian League. The Seattle University graduate scored 5 points as Ujbuda went down 101-60 in the league opener against Uni Gyor.
The European season has just got underway and will continue through until April 2019. News on all the European leagues can be tracked on: https://www.eurobasket.com/