WBC Preview Round 2

WBC Preview Round 2

Four Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) Division 1 games take place this weekend with three of the teams waiting on fitness checks on some of the brightest names in the New Zealand women’s game. Injury woes surround the availability of Charlisse Leger-Walker, Tesssa Boagni and Penina Davidson.

2018 finalists Waikato Wizards feature in two games as they head back to the South Island for the second time in ten days hoping Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Leger‑Walker will be available for their double header. The return of the leading scorer in the WBC last season would certainly help their cause having lost two of their opening three games.

On Saturday the Wizards will take on Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats and then head to Dunedin on Sunday to face AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush.

Waikato will definitely be without forward Makayla Daysh but head coach Leanne Walker is sure her team will be ready for the South Island swing.

“Our young girls are training hard and looking forward to the challenge of the return trip to Christchurch and then Dunedin,” she said.

The Wildcats, with two wins from their opening three games, have Shea Crotty as well as Boagni facing fitness tests this week.

“It’s possible both players will see some minutes on Saturday,” said Wildcats Head Coach Lori McDaniel.  “We will have to see how they go at training this week before making a decision,” she added.

Regardless of their availability a good crowd is expected at Cowles Stadium on Saturday night for this intriguing encounter.

The Gold Rush, like the Wizards, have also lost two from three and the defending champions will be eager to atone for those opening round losses when they face the Wizards on Sunday in a 2018 grand final rematch.

Harbour Breeze also face a double header visiting top of the table Auckland Dream on Friday followed by a trip to New Plymouth to take on Taranaki Thunder the next day.

Davidson is another facing a fitness check for the 2-1 Breeze who otherwise are in good health. Japanese guard Yume Negishi leads the league in assists (5.3apg) and coach Jody Cameron will be hoping she can display the same level of vision in the coming games.

Auckland Dream, with three wins under their belt, are expected to be at full strength for the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ on Friday. That means Kalani Purcell, who almost averages a double double per game (13 points and 9.7 rebounds), will be a key player on Friday night.

The Dream vs Breeze game will be available on livestream through Basketball New Zealand’s Facebook page @basketballNZ and website www.nz.basketball/tv and the footage will go live from 6:45pm.

It wasn’t the best start to the season for the Thunder. Having lost their opening three games at the weekend they then found their departing flight from Christchurch last Sunday was cancelled meaning the players didn’t arrive back home until Monday.

They will be hoping home advantage will pay dividends on Sunday when they entertain the Breeze.  The Thunder will unfortunately be without Tara Clement, who made an impact in Christchurch, and Brylee Kendall who has suffered a suspected ACL injury.  On a more positive note Eva Langton returns to the line-up after a championship winning season at Western Nebraska Junior College.

WBC Division 1 Standings

3-0 Auckland Dream
2-1 Harbour Breeze, Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
1-2 Waikato Wizards, AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush
0-3 Taranaki Thunder

Round 2 Fixtures

Friday May 17

Auckland Dream v Harbour Breeze, 7pm at Joyce Fisher Sports Centre (Epsom Girls Grammar School), Auckland

Predicted Starters

Dream – Kalani Purcell, Amanda Buck, Milomilo Nanai, Natalie Taylor, Casyn Buchman
Breeze – Ella Fotu, Yume Negishi, Deena Franklin, Ashleigh Kelman-Poto, Matangiroa Flavell

Key Numbers

Kalani Purcell leads the Dream in points (13.0ppg), rebounds (9.7rpg) and steals (2.3spg)
Harbour forwards Deena Franklin (7.3rpg) and Ashleigh Kelman-Poto (8.0rpg) both feature in the top five rebounders in the league.

Saturday May 18

Taranaki Thunder v Harbour Breeze, 2pm at TSB Stadium, New Plymouth

Predicted Starters

Thunder – Rochelle Fourie, Teesha Smith, Simone Cook, Eva Langton, Tayla Murray
Breeze – Ella Fotu, Yume Negishi, Deena Franklin, Ashleigh Kelman-Poto, Matangiroa Flavell

Key Numbers

Rochelle Fourie, averaging 13.3 points per game, has top scored for the Thunder in each of their first three games.
Ashleigh Kelman-Poto is the Breeze leading scorer averaging 16.7 points per game.

Saturday May 18

Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats v Waikato Wizards, 7.30pm at Cowles Stadium, Christchurch

Predicted Starters

Wildcats – Terai Sadler, Ajiah Siosua-Pepe, Marita Davydova, Laken Wairau, Tessa Morrison
Wizards – Alyssa Hirawani, Kelcy Ballantyne, Ella Bradley, Koha Lewis, Krystal Leger-Walker

Key Numbers

Wildcats forward Marita Davydova leads the league in points (17.0ppg) and rebounds (13.0rpg)
Krystal Leger-Walker led the Big Sky Conference in assists last season and is averaging 4.3 dimes per game for the Wizards.

Sunday May 19

AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush v Waikato Wizards, 1pm at More FM Arena Edgar Centre, Dunedin

Predicted Starters

Gold Rush – Natalie Smith, Aleisha Ruske, Natalie Visger, Bronwyn Kjestrup, Olivia O’Neill
Wizards – Alyssa Hirawani, Kelcy Ballantyne, Ella Bradley, Koha Lewis, Krystal Leger-Walker

Key Numbers

Shooting the three ball at 57% Bronwyn Kjestrup leads the Otago scoring averaging 8.7 points per game.
Junior Tall Fern Ella Bradley leads the Wizards scoring averaging 12.7points per game.

Article by Mike Lacey


Watch selected 2019 Women’s Basketball Championship games through livestream on BBNZ’s Facebook @basketballNZ hashtag #NZWBC or website www.nz.basketball/tv.

Livestream game for round 2 is Auckland Dream vs Harbour Breeze, watch from 6:45pm Friday, 17 May.


Available for all game click here.

Season Stats

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