Tag: brittany richards

NZNBL 18IN18 team review: Canterbury Wildcats

WITH the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 competition done and dusted, we take a look back at each of the six teams, how they performed and some of the top talents who stood out across the condensed season.

We start with the last placed Canterbury Wildcats, who failed to get a win, but were the top defensive team in terms of steals, though struggled to score, with a season-high 63 points, and a season-low 42 points.

SUMMARY:

Position: 6th
Wins: 0
Losses: 5

STATS:

Points: 54.6 (6th)
Rebounds: 39.8 (6th)
Assists: 12.0 (5th)
Steals: 16.4 (1st)
Blocks: 0.8 (6th)
FG%: 30.8 (6th)

The stats tell a story of a young side developing, but that was ultimately just outclassed by opponents, Their best game came against eventual finalists Waikato Wizards, going down 63-69, while all the other losses were double-figure points. In terms of pure stats, they actually dominated the steals category, ranking a clear first in the competition, but were either fifth (assists) or sixth in every other key statistic.

RESULTS:

1: lost to Auckland Dream by 15 points
2: lost to Capital Swish by 13 points
3: lost to Waikato Wizards by 6 points
4: lost to Harbour Breeze by 22 points
5: lost to Otago Gold Rush by 14 points

TOP TALENT:

Gemma Etheredge

Ranked first at the Wildcats for points, and second for rebounds, steals and assists, Etheredge was a clear standout in a disappointing winless season for Canterbury. She shot at 33 per cent from the field, finishing wiht 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.0 steals. She only played the four games, but started strongly, putting up 17 points apiece in her opening two matches against the Wizards and Dream, while also recording six and 12 rebounds, and six and five assists in back-to-back big performances. Her rebounding was a feature of her game and she was a key cog in the unit early on.

OTHERS:

Tera-Ma-Teata Elia almost averaged a double-double thanks to her 8.8 points and 10.0 rebounds as well as 4.5 steals, while Brittany Richards (7.8 points, 4.2 rebounds), Rosalia Samia (7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals), Lauryn Hippolite (7.3 points, 2.0 rebounds) and Isabelle Cook (7.0 points) all contributed strongly. Captain Shea Crotty was strong on the defensive end with 4.4 steals to go with 5.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists as the other player to reach five points per game this season.

Gold Rush grab second as 18IN18 season wraps up

OTAGO Gold Rush have capped off their strong 2020 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) season by grabbing second spot on the ladder in the 18IN18 competition following a commanding 72-58 win over Canterbury Wildcats. The winless Wildcats were always going to finish bottom after an 0-4 start, but the Gold Rush needed a win to secure second spot, which they did so thanks to a 14-point triumph.

Scoring the opening basket of the game and never surrendering the lead, the Gold Rush set the tone from the start, and kept the Wildcats to single-digit points in two of the four quarters. It was Hayley Gray and Te Araroa Sopoaga who nailed back-to-back jumpers for an early 4-0 lead. Emily Knight got her side on the board, but a layup from Zoe Richards – who would put in a sensational performance on the night – grabbed her first points in response.

Soon the lead extended as Tara Clement and Richards pushed it out to eight midway through the quarter, and with 4:43 on the clock, the score was 11-2 and the game was looking like a blowout. Luckily for the Wildcats, Katherine Jones hit a crucial triple, and that triggered eight straight points for the underdogs to get within one, but as the game would have it, never hit the front. Instead, Olivia O’Neill steadied by converting a layup And-One chance, and then Richards extended the lead out in response to Shea Crotty‘s triple for the Wildcats. As soon as the lead had got out to seven, Crotty hit another three, and Tiana Placid nailed a two-point jumper in the dying seconds to draw the Wildcats to within two at the first break.

In a repeat of the first term, Gray was the first on the board for the Gold Rush, extending the lead out to four in the opening minute. Once again a fast start was putting Otago on top as Richards and then Lisa Wallbutton added points for a 7-0 start to the quarter. Placid scored her side’s first points midway through the term, but Fayreen Fualau provided support, and Richards did the rest, going on a scoring spree with six straight points being amongst a 16-2 run in the first eight minutes.

With two minutes on the clock, Canterbury was staring down the barrel of a single-basket quarter, but luckily a late hookshot from Isabelle Cook, and then a triple with 50 seconds later saved her side from being completely out of it, and the deficit was 11 points at the half, 36-25.

Just as the game looked to be passing the Wildcats by, Knight, Gemma Etheredge and Brittany Richards all put points on the board as the losing side scored the first seven points of the second half. The celebrations were short lived as Bronwyn Kjestrup and Savanna Handevidt hit their first shots, but again Knight and Rosalia Samia came to the party and the deficit was back to four.

For all of Otago’s dominance earlier, it was still very much game on. The Wildcats were keeping it in single digits, though the Gold Rush were threatening to run away with the contest. At one stage Etheredge’s free throws had dragged Canterbury to within three points, but the Gold Rush again pulled away with Handevidt and Clement taking control, and with the last basket of the quarter, the Gold Rush were up by seven at the final break.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the Gold Rush came good on their threat to run away with the contest in the final term, as Zoe Richards hit the first jumper, and when Gray nailed a jumper four minutes into the term, the the Gold Rush were up by 12. Fualau hit some late points, and with time the enemy for the Wildcats, they just ran out of it, and the Gold Rush did enough to secure the win by 14 points.

The Gold Rush were simply too good across the board with a 49 per cent clip from the field compared to the Wildcats’ 30 per cent, though the latter had the same amount of three-point attempts as two-pointers (36) whilst the Gold Rush only had six long-range attempts but nailed three of them. They also won the rebound (50-39), block (3-0) and bench points (29-22), though the Wildcats were on top in the assists (16-14), steals (20-15) and second chance points (17-15). Remarkably, Canterbury also had less turnovers (24-31) and made the Gold Rush pay with 32 points from turnovers to Otago’s 18.

Zoe Richards was dominant with 21 points, nine rebounds and five steals, hitting two of the Gold Rush’s three triples. Clement came off the bench for 12 points, three rebounds and two steals, while the likes of Wallbutton (10 rebounds, three assists and three steals), Sopoaga (six points, five rebounds and six assists) and Kjestrup (five rebounds, two steals) all had impacts off the boards.

For the Wildcats, Crotty and Knight both scored a team-high 11 points, whilst Etheredge was crucial thanks to 11 rebounds, six steals and three assists to go with five points. Brittany Richards had four points and five rebounds, while Cook came off the bench for 10 points, two rebounds and two assists.

Otago Gold Rush now takes on Waikato Wizards tomorrow night for a place in the grand final against the winner of undefeated Harbour Breeze and Capital Swish tonight.

Picture: Photosport

Breeze provides knockout blow for Wildcats in big win

FOR one team, the result meant staying undefeated from three games, while for the other, it was effectively a line through their playoff hopes, as Harbour Breeze produced an impressive 22-point win over Canterbury Wildcats in the New Zealand National Basketball League’s (NZNBL) 18IN18 competition last night. The result meant the former set itself up for a top two finish, while handing the Wildcats a fourth defeat and knocking them out of contention for the 2020 title.

After an agonisingly close loss the night before, Wildcats’ Brittany Richards was first on the board with a clever hookshot in the opening 30 seconds. Though in what would become a theme for the night, Ashleigh Kelman-Poto and Brooke Blair both added baskets in 30 seconds to quickly have the Breeze back on track. For each Wildcats basket, there were two Breeze baskets, as Gabriella Fotu and Blair – this time the latter had a three-pointer – countered out the Terai-Ma-Teata Elia jump shot to push the lead out to five just over two minutes into the match.

Both teams were making a number of turnovers with ball-in-hand and missing opportunities as the chances dried up over the next few minutes. Elia finally broke the drought off a Shea Crotty dime, but once again Blair was involved, getting it to Jessica Moors who produced perfect Breeze layup. The Wildcats kept trying, with Rosalia Samia and Richards both sinking shots, but the work of Keeley Tini with a triple and then a last second Kelman-Poto jumper handed the Breeze a six-point advantage at the first break.

Crotty was quick out of the blocks for the Wildcats to chew back the clock as Blair missed a couple of chances, but the Wildcats could not punish them from the charity stripe with both Samia and Elia only hitting one of two from the line. They had got to within two points before Fotu finally got the Breeze on the board, and it kick-started a run of eight consecutive points, the next six came from the red-hot Blair who found her range inside the arc.

In the space of a few minutes, the lead was out to double-digits and the Wildcats needed a response. Samia, Isabelle Cook and Crotty all quickly piled on baskets in the space of a minute, shaving seven points off the 10-point deficit. Kelman-Poto had returned to the court and made up for lost time with four consecutive points for the Breeze to blow it back out to 28-21, before Cook hit a timely jumper with 44 seconds on the clock. Many might have thought that would be it for the quarter, but instead it was the Blair show, as the talented shooter knocked down back-to-back triples in what was a remarkable double-digit quarter for the talent, her last second bomb making the half-time margin 11 points.

Both Blair and Kelman-Poto continued after the break and combined for seven of the first nine points, with every Wildcats basket immediately receiving a response from the Breeze. The Breeze duo dictated play for a lot of of the time, and despite a Gemma Etheredge triple midway through the term for the Wildcats, they could not get enough momentum to chew into the deficit.

The lead went out to as much as 17 points at one stage, with the Wildcats able to reel it in to 11, as long-range shooting from Lauryn Hippolite, Richards and Etheredge helped, but even the last minute triple from Etheredge could only cut the final break deficit to 10. Once again the Breeze scored seven of the first nine points of the final term. From there it was largely academic and more about how much the final margin would be, which eventuated into a 22-point difference between the teams, 81-59.

The Breeze were simply more accurate from the field, hitting 53 per cent of their chances to the Wildcats’ 40 per cent, though Canterbury hit seven of 20 three-pointers to keep themselves in the contest. The stats as a whole were fairly even, with the Breeze’s 6-1 blocks advantage the key, though they only won the assist count by four (17-13). The Wildcats won the rebound (35-34) and steal (17-16) counts, whilst both teams managed nine second chance points, though Canterbury had 27 turnovers to 22.

Blair shot a match-high 25 points, shooting at 64 per cent from the field, including eight of 10 from inside the arc. She also dished off six assists and had three steals in an impressive performance. Working in tandem with her was Kelman-Poto (18 points, nine rebounds) who was prolific at both ends of the court. Moors finished with double-digit points off the bench thanks to 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Fotu (nine points, three assists, three steals and two rebounds) was also strong.

For the Wildcats, Samia managed a team-high 12 points, as well as three assists, two steals and two rebounds, but also six turnovers. Elia made the most of her chances with 11 points and a 100 per cent field goal percentage accompanying eight rebounds, three assists and four steals as the Wildcats’ best. Etheredge had seven points and seven rebounds, but only shot two of 10 from the field and had the five turnovers. Off the bench, Hippolite had six points and three rebounds, while Cook had seven points.

Harbour Breeze now rest up until back-to-back games against Waikato Wildcats and Auckland Dream next Monday and Tuesday, whilst the final Canterbury Wildcats game will take place on the last night of competition on December 3, against Otago Gold Rush.

Picture: Photosport

Wizards’ magical comeback sees them secure overtime win against Wildcats

WAIKATO Wizards have gone back-to-back in a remarkable come-from-behind overtime win against Canterbury Wildcats in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 competition last night. The Wizards trailed by 12 points at the final break, before scoring 35-17 in the final term and overtime period to run out six-point victors in an impressive victory.

Matangiroa Flavell was first on the board for the Wizards in the opening 30 seconds of the game, but a triple from Wildcats’ Brittany Richards not long after showed both teams were up for the fight. Makayla Daysh added four points to her name, with Jayzelee Wawihi also scoring to hand the Wizards a five-point advantage midway through the term.

Lauryn Hippolite dragged her Wildcats team back into the contest with some nice shooting including a floating jump shot and a long-range bomb to tie the scores, then Gemma Etheredge handed Canterbury the lead. Kayla Manuirirangi grabbed the advantage back for the Wizards with two-and-a-half minutes left on the clock, and Kelcy Ballantine pushed it out to as much as a four-point advantage. A late triple from Rosalia Samia slashed the Wildcats deficit to a solitary point at the break, as the Wizards headed in 14-13 in front.

The lead did not last long though with Richards first on the board for the Wildcats in the second term. A sloppy first half of the quarter saw both teams have turnovers or missed shots, with the second basket of the quarter – and the Wizards first of the term – come more than four minutes in, through an Esra McGoldrick layup. The teams traded blow-for-blow with Etheredge and Daysh both applying scoreboard pressure.

When Hippolite started to get cooking, she stretched the lead out to seven points, then Richards made it nine with two minutes left in the term. A late McGoldrick layup for the Wizards saved them from having the equal lowest score in a match this season, but there was still much work to be done, trailing by seven points at the main break.

Instead of a Wizards response in the third quarter, it was a Wildcats one, with Etheredge nailing a three-pointer 11 seconds in, then Richards blew the margin out to 12 with just over two minutes expired. Alana Paewai hit a two-point jump shot for the Wizards’ first of the quarter three minutes in, then they got within eight points at the midway point of the term.

But a triple from Hippolite and a layup from Etherdge in the space of 30 seconds off a Wizards turnover, and the Wildcats were 14 minutes away from victory with a 13-point lead. Remarkably the lead actually got out to 15 when Richards answered a Manuirirangi layup in the final two minutes, but five of the last seven points at least cut it back to 12 for the Wizards by the final break.

Waikato would need to really conjure something special, and somehow they did just that, with Manuirirangi scoring the first four points of the term. Though Shea Crotty responded with a triple for her first points of the match, only for a classy Waihi step back jumper to answer that. It seemed to do the trick as Manuirirangi and Waihi clawed the deficit back to three midway through the term and it was game on thanks to a 12-3 run to start the quarter.

The Wildcats managed to steady a little through Samia and Hippolite, as the momentum was shifting. Crotty secured an important layup for the Wildcats, but then the unthinkable happened. Daysh nailed a jump shot, hit the And-One chance, and when Manuirirangi was sent to the line, she made no mistake with her free throws. Two minutes on the clock and the scores were tied.

Etheredge made a jump shot and then Daysh followed suit with two points of her one and 63 seconds left on the clock. Etheredge only managed to hit one of her two chances from the charity stripe moments later, but then McGoldrick found the same troubles with just 50 per cent of her two chances going in. When Terai-Ma-Teata Elia‘s jump shot missed with six seconds on the clock, the scores were tied and the teams were headed to the season’s first overtime.

With all the momentum, the Wizards continued that form and while the teams traded blows in the opening couple of minutes. It was not until the last 66 seconds that the Wizards took control. After one of two free throws from McGoldrick from the line, the Wildcats missed two three-point attempts, and then racing it down the other end, the Wizards found Waihi free for the three-point dagger of her own and it was a two possession game. A deliberate foul in the final 23 seconds sent Paewai to the line and she put the icing on the most delicious cake for the Wizards.

The Wizards hit more of their field goal opportunities, nailing 43 per cent of their chances compared to the Wildcats’ 33 per cent, whilst leading the rebounds (44-41), blocks (3-2) and second chance points (15-13). In a high-foul game, the Wildcats actually had less fouls (27-32), as well as more assists (13-7) and steals (19-16).

Manuirirangi hit a team-high 15 points, as well as four rebounds, two assists and five steals. Daysh scored 13 points and 12 rebounds in a double-double effort, while Waihi had 14 points, two rebounds and two steals off the bench, only eclipsed by the hard working effort of McGoldrick (11 points, seven rebounds and three steals).

For the Wildcats, they had a triple threat in Etheredge, Richards and Hippolite. Etheredge was the standout with 17 points, six rebounds three assists and three steals, while Richards (13 points, five rebounds) and Hippolite (14 points, two rebounds and two steals) were both strong. Elia was the best off the boards picking up 13 rebounds – six offensive – to accompany her five points and seven steals.

The result means the Wizards move to a 201 record and now have a rest until next Monday when they take on Harbour Breeze. The Wildcats will be searching for their first win in the season when they lock horns with the Breeze tomorrow night.

Swish second half hands Wildcats a second loss

CAPITAL Swish have kick-started their 2020 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 season on the right note with a 13-point victory over Canterbury Wildcats last night. The Wildcats were handed their second consecutive loss on the weekend following their defeat at the hands of Auckland Dream the night before, and despite a strong first half, were overrun by a fresh Swish outfit as the side got up 55-42.

Capital Swish started the game on fire with Maia Jean Watene scoring the first points of the game, and after a couple of misses from the Wildcats, Sariah Penese made good on two free throws. Brittany Richards returned the favour from the charity stripe not long after to get her team on the board, before Watene and Paris Lokotui pushed the margin out to five in the first half of the quarter.

Terai-Ma-Teata Elia stepped up at a crucial point with five points in the space of 19 seconds to level the match at the four and a half minute mark, before Emily Knight and Katherine Jones helped it become a 9-0 run in favour of the Wildcats. Letava Whippy soon ended that run with a triple to cut the deficit to one point, then Lokotui and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit scored in the final 80 seconds to give the Swish a three-point lead at the break.

Richards scored an important basket in the opening minute of the second term, but Selby-Rickit quickly countered that with a jump shot of her own. The teams traded blows and also missed a number of opportunities with defensive pressure mounting. Isabella Luhetoa found her range from outside the arc, tying the scores with just over four minutes into the term. Elia helped her team gain the lead, but it was only four 22 seconds until Penese dropped another triple for the Swish to regain the advantage at 22-21.

Another triple, this time to Grace Simi Vaofusi, had the Swish out to a four-point lead, but the last two baskets of the term, went to the Wildcats and Samia and Knight to be exact. A couple of late turnovers in the final 40 seconds hurt the Swish as the teams headed into the break all-square at 25-25 after a low-scoring half.

Samia was the first out of the blocks in the second half, securing one of two free throws for her Wildcats team to edge ahead, but Whippy and Penese quickly added points to go a basket up. The lead grew to four until Luhetoa sank a triple midway through the quarter to draw within a point again, but the Swish answered through Whippy and Selby-Rickit to go out to a five-point lead.

A successful free throw and lay up from Samia cut the deficit to two with just under four minutes on the clock, but back-to-back baskets from Penese and Whippy extended it back out to the largest margin of the game with a six-point advantage. Luhetoa put up a triple with 19 seconds on the clock to draw within three, and it looked to be the last basket of the game, before a sensational buzzer beater by Lokotui gave the Swish a five-point lead at the last break, and most importantly the confidence to go on with it.

Lokotui and Watene both made successful two-pointers either side of a Samaia triple after an opening first few minutes that yielded no scores. By the mid-part of the term, the game looked over as Vaofusi and Taulelei successfully hit a combined five points and the lead had blown out to 11, and while Richards and Elia tried their best late in the contest, the work of Lokotui and Selby-Rickit was too much, as the pair combined for their team’s runaway win, 55-42.

The teams were fairly even, but as the tale of the tape has suggested the last couple of nights, the more accurate team got up with the Swish having one less attempt from the field, but making 22 baskets compared to 16, and recording higher numbers from inside and outside the arc. They also led the rebounds (52-48), assists (13-9), blocks (3-1) and second chance points (12-6), though the Wildcats had one more steal (13-12) and one less turnover (21-22).

In an even team performance, Lokotui sank 14 points and had 13 rebounds in an impressive double-double performance, while Selby-Rickit also impressed off the bench with eight points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Whippy led from the front with 10 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four steals in an all-court performance, while Penese (nine points, five rebounds and three assists) and Watene (six points, seven rebounds and two assists) both impacted the match.

For the Wildcats, Samia hit 11 points, three rebounds and two steals, while Elia was the standout player on the losing side thanks to nine points, 13 rebounds and four steals. Shea Crotty did not hit one of her six field goal attempts, but she did pick up seven rebounds, three assists and five steals, while Richards finished with seven points and seven rebounds. Coming off the bench, Luhetoa had nine points and three rebounds, while Knight helped herself to four points and six rebounds.

Capital Swish back up tonight’s performance against Harbour Breeze tomorrow night, while the Wildcats now will look to turn around their 0-2 start to the season in their next match against Waikato Wizards who also lost their first match, when the teams face off on Wednesday, November 25.

Picture: Shane Wenzlick / Photosport

NZNBL 18IN18 team preview: Canterbury Wildcats

CANTERBURY Wildcats have a rich history in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) and this year in the condensed 18IN18 competition will be no different. Led by captain Tessa Morrison, the red and black army will descend on Auckland to try and win a title.

The Wildcats have announced their 13-player squad for the upcoming competition with shooting guard Morrison leading the way. As an accurate shooter and natural leader who has been with the club for seven years now, she is one to watch out there on the court. Still only 23-years-old, she has some elite skill and one who will guide her side through the challenges of a condensed season.

Some others to watch include Terai Sadler who combined with Fran Edmondson can provide some extra class on the court. Sadler could play out of the three or four positions, whilst Edmondson is a strong rebounder who will likely stand out at the four or five. Saddler is considered a slick ball user and creative when presented with scoring opportunities, while Edmondson is as strong as they come at the post. That flexibility for Sadler will be important considering the strength at the power forward position.

Shea Crotty is another natural leader to assist in the back court. Having been a Tall Fern and experienced in Australia, she will be one of a number of leaders who help tutor the younger members of the team. Lauryn Hippolite showed serious talent in the preseason practice match win over Otago Gold Rush, scoring 30 points during the 83-48 victory. In the same game, Brittany Richards showed her long-range shooting and composure under pressure when on the offence.

Canterbury has plenty of exciting young talents including the X-factor of Sapphire Wairau. Still a young talent, Wairau is able to distribute the ball on offence and set up plays as well as go herself and nail the vital baskets. Throw in Rosalia Samia who is only 19-years-old and already represented her nation at the Under-17 World Cup, and the Wildcats have a bright future.

As an overall team unit, the Wildcats have enough talent to suggest they can run deep in this year’s competition. As title winners back in 2016/17, the Wildcats know what it takes to get the job done and have a number of players from that successful time who could really stand out.

CANTERBURY WILDCATS FULL TEAM LIST:

Brittany Richards
Gemma Etheredge
Kat Jones
Tiana Placid
Terai Sadler
Tessa Morrison
Shea Crotty
Lauryn Hippolite
Rosalia Samia
Francesca Edmondson
Sapphire Wairau
Isabella Luhetoa
Millie Knight