Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats welcomed back Tessa Stewart Morrison and Terai Sadler for the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) clash with Taranaki Thunder at Cowles Stadium on Saturday.
Stewart Morrison, back from her freshman year at Southern New Hampshire University, made an immediate impact scoring eight first quarter points as Canterbury raced to a 24-10 opening quarter lead.
2016 MVP Fran Edmondson made the first two baskets of the second period before Caitlin Preston put points on the board for Taranaki.
Any hopes of a Taranaki revival were quickly quashed as Stewart Morrison and Ashlee Fane landed threes to extend the Canterbury lead to 36-16 at the interval.
The visitors made a better fist of things in the opening exchanges of the third as Vanessa McCarthy and the dependable Jess Tuki made baskets.
However an 8-2 Taranaki run was quickly nipped in the bud by Fane. Canterbury guard landed 11 points in the quarter, including three triples, to push her team out to a 59-38 advantage after the third frame.
The impressive Fane (6/10 3PG), Ashley Gayle and Sadler added to Taranaki’s woes in the fourth as Canterbury eased to a comfortable 82-55 win.
The victory takes Canterbury to outright first on the WBC ladder, a win ahead of Waikato Country. Taranaki, despite the loss, remain in fifth spot.
Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats 82 (Fane 20, Stewart Morrison 13, Sadler 11, Gayle 9, Poletti 4/11rebs)
Taranaki Thunder 55 (Tuki 14, Preston 9, Cook 8/13r, Keech 7
8-1 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
7-1 Waikato Country
6-1 Waikato Wizards
5-3 Taranaki Thunder
4-3 Capital Swish
4-2 Site Weld Otago Goldrush
3-4 Harbour Breeze
2-5 Auckland Lady Rangers
1-7 Tauranga City Coasters
1-6 Rotorua Lady Vols
0-8 Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix
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