Otago Gold Rush and Taranaki Thunder were victors in the two Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) games played on Saturday.
Taranaki bounced back from their defeat at the hands of Harbour Breeze last week to defeat Auckland Dream 62-49 on their home court at TSB Stadium.
In the all South Island match up Otago Gold Rush proved too good for Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats winning 74-67 at Cowles Stadium.
Having beaten WBC league leaders Waikato Wizards last week Otago claimed another prized scalp on Saturday defeating defending champions Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats.
Otago looked well on their way to a decisive victory when they led 38-23 at half-time. However a strong second half comeback from the Wildcats, led by Connie Poletti (25 points and 11 rebounds), saw the scores tied at 60 points apiece with four minutes to play.
The Gold Rush had led all game up to that point and quickly regained the initiative with a Soraya Umaga-Jensen triple. That score initiated a game clinching 13-3 run as the experienced Nat Visger (27 points and 13 rebounds) and Dana Goularte (15 points) combined for the next ten points.
Ajiah-Liric Siosiua-Pepe made six points in the final minute for the Wildcats but it wasn’t enough to deny Gold Rush two competition points and outright fourth spot on the ladder.
Earlier Nicole Ruske and Goularte scored ten points each as Otago claimed their 15 points half-time lead.
Poletti and Terina Wainoa led the Wildcats second half comeback but Otago were not to be denied. Both teams will entertain Taranaki Thunder in the final round of regular season games next weekend.
Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats 67 – C Poletti 25, A Siosiua-Pepe 12 T Wanoa 8, S Crotty 6
Otago Gold Rush 74 – N Visger 27, D Goularte 15, S Umaga-Jensen 10, N Ruske 10
Lyndi Laborn (22 points and 14 rebounds) produced a dominating performance to lead Taranaki Thunder, who overcame a 25-10 first quarter deficit, to their win against Auckland Dream.
The Dream made five triples in the opening period as they carved out that 15-point advantage. Shauna Povey, bound for the U17 World Cup in Belarus next month, made three while Luye Murphy and Hailey Moala made one apiece.
Thereafter their offence spluttered as they could only muster a further twenty-four points in the contest.
Tara Clement scored nine second quarter points as Taranaki closed the gap to five points (33-28) at half-time.
A Zoe Ebbitt three gave Taranaki their first lead, since the opening play of the game, late in the third period (41-39). Thereafter Simone Cook (3/6 3PG) from the perimeter and Laborn inside dominated proceedings to take the Thunder to their second win of the season.
The Thunder head off on their South Island rumble next weekend to take on Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats and Otago Gold Rush. Auckland Dream have finished their regular season campaign with a 4-3 record.
With only a handful of games left in the regular season, teams will be gearing up for the WBC Finals Weekend in Dunedin starting on July 5th at the Edgar Centre.
The Finals Weekend will be live streamed so keep an eye out on the @BasketballNZ Facebook and nz.basketball/tv for game times.
Taranaki Thunder 62 – L Laborn 22, S Cook 9, T Clement 9, R Sampson 7
Auckland Dream 49 – S Povey 17, S Pupuke-Robati 8, I Purcell 6
5-1 Waikato Wizards
4-2 Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons
4-3 Auckland Dream
4-2 Otago Gold Rush
3-3 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
2-4 Harbour Breeze
2-3 Taranaki Thunder
0-6 Tauranga City Coasters
The full draw is available here
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