Harbour Breeze, without a win this season, travelled to Cowles Stadium to take on unbeaten Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats (7-0) on Saturday night in the opening game of week 4 of the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC).
Form pointed towards another Canterbury win but what transpired was unexpected as Harbour stole a 67-55 victory to bring to an end a 21 game Canterbury winning streak dating back to the beginning of last season.
Ashley Gayle and Connie Poletti helped Canterbury to an early 12-7 lead but a combined 14 points from Tall Fern Deena Franklin and guard Georgia Agnew helped Harbour to a narrow 28-27 half-time lead.
Courtney Hamblin scored 4 points early for Canterbury in a tight third period. Gayle was doing some damage inside for the hosts but Agnew and Anna Lacey kept Harbour in touch at 42-40.
Junior Tall Ferns Tiarna Clarke and Esra McGoldrick exchanged triples as Canterbury reached three-quarter time with the narrowest of advantages, 46-45.
Harbour began the final period with a 9-0 run as Clarke, Lacey and Franklin made baskets. Point guard Terina Wanoa finally broke the Canterbury scoring drought but when Agnew inflicted further damage a ten point advantage favoured Harbour.
Sapphire Wairau made a welcome three for Canterbury and a mini comeback ensued as Wanoa and Lauryn Hippolite made scores. However Clarke, Agnew and Tania Uluheua made important plays to secure an upset win and revive Harbour’s top six aspirations.
Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats 55 (Gayle 14p/16r, Poletti 8, Wanoa 7, McGoldrick 6)
Harbour Breeze 67 (Agnew 20p/11r/6a, Clarke 19, Franklin 11, A Lacey 8)
Despite a massive double double of 30 points and 12 rebounds from Tauranga City Coasters forward Makayla Daysh, Waikato Wizards were able to record a 63-53 road victory on Saturday night.
Daysh landed an early three but Waikato dominated the opening half opening up a 38-15 advantage Kaylee Smiler led all scorers at the break with 9 points.
Whatever Tauranga coach Rachel Gwerder said to her charges at half-time worked a treat. Daysh and Briarley Rogers scored all but two of Tauranga’s points in the third quarter won by the hosts 16-10.
A couple of Kaatia Watene baskets dragged the Waikato lead back to 13 before the experienced Miriam Stevens steadied the ship for Waikato.
The duo of Daysh and B Rogers continued to trouble Waikato but the in-form Alyssa Hirawani and Ella Bradley did enough to hold off a brave second half revival by Tauranga.
Tauranga City Coasters 53 (Daysh 30p/12r, B Rogers 15, Watene 6)
Waikato Wizards 63 (Stevens 14, Hirawani 13, Smiler 13)
In New Plymouth it was all one way traffic in the first half as Taranaki Thunder stormed to a 42-5 lead at the break against Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix.
Jessica Tuki set the tone with a couple of early baskets aided by a brace of threes from Simone Cook as Taranaki set off on a 14-0 run before Truely Harding landed a triple for Te Tai Tokerau.
Taranaki continued to roll, and had nine different contributors to the score in the opening half led by S Cook (6 from 12 threes in the game) 14 points opening salvo.
Te Tai Tokerau responded well in the third period taking it 11-8 as Marion Tewhiu, Te Arani Daniels and former Counties Manukau guard Breeze Leonard made baskets.
Normal service resumed in the fourth as the balanced Taranaki scoring machine, seven players scored 7 points or more, moved back into top gear to record a 79-21 win.
Taranaki Thunder 79 (S Cook 20, Keech 9, Tuki 8, Cutler 8, Watling 8, I Cook 8)
Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix 21 (Tewhui 8, Harding 5)
A decisive fourth quarter run from the Waikato Country Cannons decided the tie against Auckland Lady Rangers in Te Awamutu.
With young Massey High School guard Shauna Povey and captain Stevee Theyers shooting a collective 11 from 18 from the field including 5 from 8 threes, Auckland was able to take a 27-22 advantage into the half-time break. Waikato Country edged the third to lead 35-34 at the last break but it was the 12-3 run at the start of the fourth period that decided the contest.
Donna Fermanis was a thorn in the side of the visitors defence earning multiple trips to the foul line and making Auckland pay by converting 11 from 12 free throws. Ably supported by Chelseah Savage and Fermanis finished with a game high 23 points as Waikato Country brushed aside Auckland in the final stanza (27-8) to win 62-42.
Waikato Country Cannons 62 (Fermanis 23, Savage 8, Riwai 5, Jones 5)
Auckland Lady Rangers 42 (Povey 16, Theyers 11, Greissen 8)
Current WBC Standings
7-1 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
6-1 Waikato Country Cannons
5-1 Taranaki Thunder
5-1 Waikato Wizards
4-2 Site Weld Otago Goldrush
4-2 Capital Swish
2-5 Auckland Lady Rangers
1-4 Harbour Breeze
1-6 Rotorua Lady Vols
0-6 Tauranga City Coasters
0-6 Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix
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