Congrats Harbour Tall Ferns!!
The Tall Ferns Women’s Basketball squad for the upcoming tour of China and Europe has been named and we are proud to announce that four of the group have come through the North Harbour age group representative system.
Lisa Wallbutton and Micaela Cocks currently play professionally in Australia, Brook Blair is at college in the USA, with Deena Franklin the only Harbour domiciled player.
In addition Junior Tall Ferns captain Zara Jillings, in her final year at Westlake Girls High School, was called into the senior camp as a development player prior to the team’s departure for China.
Head Coach Kennedy Kereama has announced a squad of 14 players to tour China and Europe ahead of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France next month.
Stella Beck and Penina Davidson will be joining the squad in China. The other 12 players will take part in a two day preparation camp (May 9-10) in Auckland before departing for China on Wednesday May 11.
The 14 players selected are:
Stella Beck, aged 20 from Hutt Valley playing at Saint Mary's College, California
Brooke Blair, 21, North Harbour – Idaho State University
Jessica Bygate, 24, Nelson - Adelaide Lightning/Sunbury Jets
Micaela Cocks, 30, North Harbour -Townsville Fire
Penina Davidson, 20, Waitakere - University of California, Berkley
Antonia Edmondson, 28, Canterbury - Perth Lynx
Deena Franklin, 21, North Harbour – Waitakere Lady Rangers
Jordan Hunter, 25, Counties Manuakau - Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks
Krystal Leger-Walker, 18, Waikato - Waikato Wizards
Katelin Noyer, 18, Waitakere – Waitakere Lady Rangers
Chevannah Paalvast, 24, Waitakere - Townsville Fire
Kalani Purcell, 21, Counties Manukau - Brigham Young University-Provo
Erin Rooney, 25, Canterbury - Cote D'Opale Basket Calais, France
Lisa Wallbutton, 30, North Harbour - Perth Redbacks
Head Coach – Kennedy Kereama
Assistant Coach – Chris Lucas
Assistant Coach – Aik Ho
Assistant Coach – Brent Matehaere (For the China leg of the tour)
Team Manager – Gail McLauchlan
Physio – Ariane Carroll
Jillian Harmon, 29 – Le Murra Lucca, Italy and Josephine Stockill, 22, Hawkes Bay - Colgate University will join the tour party in Latvia with two players released following the China segment of the tour.
Samara Gallaher, 23, Otago - Hume City Broncos was not considered for selection due to injury.
The squad will be trimmed to 12 for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament before the Spanish leg of the tour.
Kereama says the programme that has been put together is first class and has no doubt it will prepare the team to be in great shape physically and mentally for a final shot at Rio.
“We have a good group of players that have made themselves available this year, many of whom have just come off great professional or collegiate seasons. The depth in our women’s programme is at an all-time high and we have a lot of players knocking on the door and forcing themselves into contention for selection.”
Kereama added, “Competition for places in the touring party of 14 was intense and it will be an even tougher call to name a final 12 for the Olympic Qualifiers in France. He says this has come about largely through an increase in activity for the women’s programme combined with the emergence of a strong generation of players that are making headlines in the US College system and in professional leagues overseas.
14-16 May - Four Nations Tournament v China, Czech Republic and Montenegro in Hengyang, Hunan Province, China.
19-21 May - Four Nations Tournament v China, Czech Republic and Montenegro in Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia, China.
23-28 May – Latvia Friendlies, Riga, Latvia
29 May – 4 June – Four Nations Tournament v Belarus, Japan and Turkey in Minsk, Belarus.
5-9 June – Spain, Friendlies in Asturias, Spain.
13-19 June – Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Nantes, France
The Tall Ferns will assemble alongside 12 other nations at the women’s qualifying tournament in Nantes, France: Spain, France, Belarus, Turkey (Europe); Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela (America’s); Cameroon, Nigeria (Africa), China, South Korea (Asia); and New Zealand (Oceania). Only the top five will earn a place in Rio.
New Zealand has been drawn with heavyweights France (4 in the world) and Cuba (13) in their pool, with the top two teams from each pool of three qualifying for the quarterfinals. New Zealand’s ranking of 22 in the world has them clearly ranked as underdogs, but Kereama is backing his team to mix it with the best in France.
“Our build up for the Olympic Qualifier is great. We are playing a number of good teams – in fact nine of the ten are ranked above us, so we will be pushed during every game. We need the best competition possible and the tougher the games the better the preparation for our Olympic Qualification Series. The tournament is going to be cut throat and we need to be playing our best basketball when we arrive in France,” says Kereama.
More information on the FIBA Women’s Qualifying Tournament:http://www.fiba.com/oqtwomen/2016