WBC Semis set to light up Auckland

WBC Semis set to light up Auckland

Day two of the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) at AUT Sports Centre on Friday will feature six games - the Division 1 Championship, the WBC Plate and the Division 2 Cup semi-finals.

Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats are the sole South Island representative in the Division 1 Championship top four. The 2016 and 2017 champions will take on regular season winners Harbour Heat. That game is preceded by the match-up between Auckland Dream and Waikato Wizards.

5.45pm, Championship Semi-Final 1

Auckland Dream v Waikato Wizards

There is a stark contrast between the recent form of these two teams. Waikato Wizards have won their last four games while the Dream have lost three of their last four.

The Wizards good run of results has coincided with the return of the prodigious Charlisse Leger-Walker who has averaged 31 points per game over that stretch.

The Dream will be at full strength for this mighty clash which means they welcome back Charmian Mellars to partner her sister Kalani Purcell in possibly the most dynamic front court in the WBC.

Projected Starters:

Dream – Amanda Buck, Jordan Hunter, Natalie Taylor, Kalani Purcell, Charmian Mellars

Wizards – Charlisse Leger-Walker, Tash Lenden, Krystal Leger-Walker, Ella Bradley, Kelcy Ballantyne

Key Numbers:

Waikato guard Krystal Leger-Walker leads the league in steals (3.8spg) and is second in points (16.7ppg) and assists (5.3apg).

Dream forward Kalani Purcell is top three in the league in rebounding (12.0rpg) and steals (2.9spg) and is also the number one free-throw shooting exponent in the league at 86% (18 from 21).

7.30pm, Championship Semi-Final 2
Harbour Breeze v Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats

Harbour Breeze galloped home in the finishing straight to claim the regular season title in the last fixture of the regular season. However to progress to the championship final they will have to outrun the thoroughbred team that are Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats.

The Wildcats have unfortunately lost Ajiah Pepe and Terai Sadler to international duty. The pair have been called into a Cook Island training camp in Rarotonga ahead of the  Pacific Games.

Once again the forward confrontation between Harbour’s Penina Davidson and Deena Franklin and the Wildcats pair of Tessa Boagni and Marita Davydova should be one to savour.

Projected Starters:

Breeze – Tayla Dalton, Yume Negishi, Matangiroa Flavell, Deena Franklin, Penina Davidson

Wildcats – Tessa Morrison, Laken Wairau, Shea Crotty, Marita Davydova, Tessa Boagni

Key Numbers:

Ashleigh Kelman-Poto, averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, makes a welcome return to the Breeze squad.

Wildcats forward Tessa Boagni leads Division 1 in shots blocked averaging 1.4 blocks per game.

AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush will be looking to put the WBC Plate in the trophy cabinet in Dunedin after missing out on the championship final four. The 2018 WBC Champions will face Wellington in the first Plate semi-final with Capital Swish opposing Taranaki Thunder in the other semi-final.

10.45am, Plate Semi-Final 1

AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush v Wellington

It will be a battle of youth against experience in the first Plate semi-final.

Gold Rush have the bulk of the squad that were crowned Division 1 champions last year led by Tall Fern guard Nicole Ruske and the American college based duo of Brittany and Zoe Richards.

Emphasising the youthfulness of the Wellington squad captain Emilina Motu, at just 22 years of age, is the ‘veteran’ of her team.

Wellington received a setback on the eve of the tournament with Paris Lokotui being forced to withdraw due to injury but her absence will enable other members of Nixon Penese’s squad to fill the void.

Projected Starters:

Gold Rush – Zoe Richards, Nicole Ruske, Bronwyn Kjestrup, Natalie Smith, Hayley Gray

Wellington – Emilina Motu, Leah Mafua, Renee Savai’inaea, Grace Hunter, Grace Vaofusu

Key Numbers:

Gold Rush guard Brittany Richards leads the WBC in three-point shooting percentages at 47% having made 7 from 15 from beyond the arc.

Opposing Richards will be Leah Mafua who leads the Wellington scoring averaging 13.5 points per game.

12.30pm, Plate Semi-Final 2 

Taranaki Thunder v Capital Swish

Capital Swish will be looking to take a Division 1 scalp when they take on Taranaki Thunder.

Having had a couple of outstanding netball seasons Aliyah Dunn’s return to the basketball court will be viewed with interest. The former Junior Tall Fern is averaging 6.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in three games for Swish this season.

Opposing Dunn will be the impressive Thunder forward pairing of Raquel Sampson and Rochelle Fourie who are both top ten in the league in rebounds and points.

Projected Starters:

Thunder – Simone Cook, Teesha Smith, Eva Langton, Rochelle Fourie, Raquel Sampson.

Swish – Letava Whippy, Laura Talbot, Maia Watene, Arielle Parai, Morgan Ili

Key Numbers:

Forward Raquel Sampson leads the Thunder in scoring (15.3ppg) and rebounding (8.3rpg).

The experienced Arielle Parai is averaging a very handy 12.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for Capital Swish.

2018 WBC Division 2 champions McAlpine M10 Mega North Canterbury will take on neighbours South Canterbury Stealers in the first semi-final of the Division 2 Cup.  That will be followed by the Harbour Zephyr versus Rotorua Lady Geysers match-up.

9.00am, Division 2 Cup Semi-Final 1 

McAlpine M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit v South Canterbury Stealers

Bragging rights are on the line in this all-Canterbury clash. The last time the two teams met McAlpine M10 Mega North Canterbury Spirit won 72-43 with Charlotte Whittaker scoring 15 points. The good news for the Stealers is that Whittaker will be missing from this encounter although the bad news is that the Spirit will still have plenty of scoring power via the American college based trio of  Esra McGoldrick, Amy West and Maia Watling.

Dallas Frederikson and Jorja Miller will carry the scoring load for the Stealers.

Projected Starters:

Spirit – Esra McGoldrick, Amy West, Maia Watling, Caoimhe Colgan, Alice Sproat

Stealers - Dallas Frederikson, Jorja Miller, Annabelle Quinonez, Ellen Walsh, Milly Ford

Key Numbers;

Stealers guard Dallas Frederikson is fourth in Division 2 scoring averaging 14.8 points per game.

Spirit forward Esra McGoldrick is top three in Division 2 in both scoring (15.5ppg) and rebounding (8.5rpg).

4.00pm, Division 2 Cup Semi-Final 2

Rotorua Lady Geysers v Harbour Zephyr

The last time these two teams met Zephyr won 74-55 but at three-quarter time it was just 47-46 in favour of Harbour.

Captain Aroha Haumaha will be calling for a fourty-minute effort this time as the Lady Geysers look to steal a win on the Zephyr’s home court. Haumaha produced a monster double-double of 25 points and 20 rebounds in that game back in May.

Jordyn Maddix, Tiarna Clarke and Wuanyei Ah-Hing will manage the Zephyr backcourt as they will look to play an up-tempo style of game.

Projected Starters:

Zephyr - Jordyn Maddix, Tiarna Clarke, Wuanyei Ah-Hing, Rashaan Smith, Rikki Fiatau

Lady Geysers – Ellen Pene, Aroha Haumaha, Dekoda Te Autu, Kararaina Pene, Grace McCarthy.

Key Numbers;

Rotorua forward Aroha Haumaha leads Division 2 in rebounds (9.5rpg) and is second in scoring (20.7ppg).

Tiarna Clarke leads the Zephyr scoring averaging 14.4 points per game.


Watch the livestream of the 2019 Women’s Basketball Championship Finals Tournament through Facebook @BasketballNZ, BBNZ website nz.basketball/tv, Sky Sport Pop Up 3 and the Grand Finals is also available through stuff.co.nz.  Check out the draw for the livestreamed games.

Sponsors and Partners

Events like this would not be possible without sponsors and partners.  A huge thank you and acknowledgement goes out to:

  • Four Winds
  • Sky Sport – all livestream games are available to watch on Sky Sport Pop Up 3
  • Stuff.co.nz – the Division 1 grand final will be available online
  • Molten - the official match ball of the WBC
  • Mai FM – catch the Mai Street team onsite from 4-6pm on Friday with your change to crack the Mai lockbox and win
  • Skinny Fizz - a splash of fruit. That’s it.
  • Pagani Women’s Clothing - pick up a programme for a 30% off their New Collection voucher to be redeemed at the Pagani Albany store
  • Sal’s Authentic New York Pizza
  • Harbour Basketball

Girls Got Game

Girls Got Game is a fun and friendly basketball programme for primary and intermediate school age girls.  Basketball is a fantastic sport for girls, helping to develop movement and thinking skills in a fun social team environment.

The Women’s Basketball Championship are proud to be supporting this new and exciting initiative for girls to have a go at our great game of basketball.  For more information go to www.nz.basketball/girlsgotgame .


See the draw, results and teams and more at nzwbc.basketball.

Want to play basketball?

Contact your local association through nz.basketball/The-Huddle.