Otago Gold Rush are the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) regular season champions after they defeated Taranaki Thunder in Dunedin on Friday night.
The Gold Rush needed some help from Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons to claim the title. The Cannons defeat of the Wizards in the Waikato derby meant three teams had an identical 5-2 record at the top of the table.
After crunching the numbers Gold Rush topped the table on points with a win against Waikato teams.
The Gold Rush stamped their authority on proceedings from the outset at the Edgar Centre on Friday carving out an early double figure lead and entering half-time 39-20 ahead.
Dana Goularte made ten of her game high 15 points in the opening half and aided by triples from newly named Tall Fern Nicole Ruske, Soraya Umaga-Jensen and Brittany Richards the home side were in control at the break.
The Thunder, led by Lyndi Laborn (13 points), competed strongly in the second half and were only shaded by two points in that period. However with Zoe Richards (7 points and 11 rebounds) and Ruske (9 points and 7 rebounds) in good touch the Gold Rush lead was never threatened.
On the back of four straight wins the Gold Rush will be full of confidence ahead of the WBC Finals Weekend they host in two weeks time (July 5-7).
Otago Gold Rush 63 (D Goularte 15, N Ruske 9, Z Richards 7, S Umaga-Jensen 7)
Taranaki Thunder 42 (L Laborn 13, R Sampson 6, I Cook 5, E Langton 5)
Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons, paced by 19 points from Bayley Ross-Waitai (5/10 3PG), claimed second spot on the ladder after defeating local rivals Waikato Wizards 70-61 in Te Awamutu on Saturday.
The Cannons entered the final period ahead 49-47 and in a quarter of fluctuating fortunes only claimed the win in the dying minutes.
Alyssa Hirawani celebrated her call-up to the national team with a game high 22 points. Twice in the fourth period she tied the scores and three times the Wizards would claim the lead. Guard Jayzelee Waihi gave the Wizards the lead (61-59) on the third occasion with four minutes to play but it was short-lived.
On the next play Moengaroa Subritzky landed a triple and thereafter the Cannons controlled the closing moments. They scored the last eleven points of the game courtesy of further baskets from Subritzky, Kharmen Kereama and Arielle Parai.
One telling statistic was that the Wizards, normally a good perimeter shooting team made just 1 from 12 three-point shots. In comparison the Cannons made 10 from 24 (41%) from beyond the arc.
Power Chill Country Cannons 70 (B Ross-Waitai 19, D Fermanis 16, A Parai 15, M Subritzky 10)|
Waikato Wizards 61 (A Hirawani 22, C Leger-Walker 13, E Bradley 8, J Waihi 6)
Also on Saturday Harbour Breeze forged an early 23-9 lead against Tauranga City Coasters before going on to win 108-55 at AUT Sports Centre.
Coasters guards Kaitlyn Morrell and Courtney Wilson partially addressed early damage inflicted by Keeley Tini – Breeze ahead 31-17 at quarter time.
A pair of threes from Briarley Rogers (15 points) helped the Coasters cause before a put back from Katie Diakhaby took Harbour to a 43-27 lead.
Triples, late in the period, from Jordyn Maddix and Tabitha Jenkins blew the Breeze advantage out to 51-30 at half-time.
The Breeze began the second half with a 13-2 run, Mareta Davidson joining sister Penina (7 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) in the Harbour lineup as their lead stretched to 69-34 at the mid point of the third.
Ten points in the period from top scorer Tayla Dalton (24 points) gave Harbour an unassailable 83-40 three-quarter time lead.
Harbour Breeze 108 (T Dalton 24, K Tini 23, K Diakhaby 18, J Maddix 14)
Tauranga City Coasters 55 (B Rogers 15, C Wilson 12, M Daysh 8, K Morrell 8)
Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats bounced back from successive defeats to beat Taranaki Thunder 79-60 at Cowles Stadium on Sunday.
The Wildcats opened up a 27-11 first quarter advantage, propelled to that lead on the back of threes from Tessa Morrison (17 points), Shea Crotty, Terina Wanoa and Laken Wairau.
Lyndi Laborn (21 points/13 rebounds) and Isabelle Cook (15 points/10 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles and the duo led a Thunder revival in the second quarter – Wildcats 42-30 ahead at half-time.
A balanced scoring effort from the Wildcats, including six points and seven rebounds from returning Tall Fern Tessa Boagni, ensured a fourth win of the campaign for the defending champions.
Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats 79 (T Morrison 17, S Crotty 13, C Poletti 11, D Rose 9)
Taranaki Thunder 60 (L Laborn 21, I Cook 15, R Samia 9)
1 Otago Gold Rush (5-2)
2 Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons (5-2)
3 Waikato Wizards (5-2)
4 Auckland Dream (4-3)
5 Alloyfold Wildcats (4-3)
6 Harbour Breeze (3-4)
7 Taranaki Thunder (2-5)
8 Tauranga City Coasters (0-7)
The WBC Finals Weekend will be host by Basketball Otago at the Edgar Centre from July 5‑7. Live stream will be available from on July 6 from 10:30am and July 7 from 9am on @BasketballNZ Facebook and nz.basketball/tv .
For everything WBC, follow the @BasketballNZ Facebook, Instagram Twitter and accounts. Hashtag #NZWBC.
Follow the FIBA Livestats of the WBC click here
Watch the live stream coverage of the WBC on @BasketballNZ Facebook and nz.basketball/tv
For more information on the teams, draws, results and more go to www.nzwbc.basketball
Want to get involved in the game? Contact your local association via www.thehuddle.co.nz