Tag: lauryn hippolite

2021 NZNBL Women’s stats – Round 1: Team analysis

WITH the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) Women’s in full swing the ladder has already started to take shape with teams impressing with their attacking mentality and strength off the boards. Draft Central delves into the key statistical areas to see which teams have the rub of the green so far.

Points:

  1. Wizards 92.3
  2. Wildcats 76.5
  3. Breeze 71.5
  4. Dream 66.3
  5. Swish 61.5
  6. Gold Rush 43.5

The Wizards have proven to be very attacking minded this season, not afraid to back themselves in the contest and post hefty totals with Charlisse Leger-Walker leading the way with her 26.3 points. In fact they average more than 15 points a game than the next closest team in the Wildcats highlighting their intensity and scoring capacity. Wildcats and Breeze are relatively evenly matched averaging 76.5 and 71.5 points respectively with Tessa Boagni a key reason for the Wildcats’ early success with 30.5 points per game. Meanwhile Dream and Swish have showcased they have the capacity to go big but just not on a frequent basis. Down the bottom of the table when it comes to average points scored is Gold Rush with just 43.5 points to their name, they are also anchored to the bottom of the ladder having not won a game from the first two matches.

Rebounds:

  1. Swish 42.5
  2. Wizards 41.7
  3. Wildcats 41.5
  4. Dream 39.00
  5. Gold Rush 37.5
  6. Breeze 36.00

Capital Swish have been renowned for their rebounding ability so far this season and the numbers prove just that narrowly edging out the Wizards for top spot. The Swish average 42.5 rebounds a game while the Wizards are hot on their heels with 41.7 with Boagni responsible for 13 boards a game. The race continues in third spot with the Wildcats also proving to be an imposing force off the boards recording an average of 41.5 rebounds. Dream are not too far behind credit to their 39 rebounds a game with Esra McGoldrick offering a helping hand thanks to her 10.3 rebounds while Gold Rush rose up the ranks thanks to their strength off the boards. The Breeze have struggled for rebounds this season only managing an average of 36 a game however their strength has lay in defence with majority of the boards defensive.

Assists:

  1. Wizards 18.7
  2. Wildcats 17.5
  3. Swish 13
  4. Breeze 12
  5. Dream 11
  6. Gold Rush 8.5

It is no surprise that the Wizards hold top spot once again with their hot start to the season making them hard stop. They are crafty with ball in hand and are more than willing to flick the ball around to create attacking forays as shown through their average of 18.7 assists a game. The Wildcats have also been strong competitors registering 17.5 dimes each time they step out on court with Lauryn Hippolite a key cog credit to her seven assists. It drops off a bit after the top two with Swish only recording 13 assists a game while Breeze and Dream have 12 and 11 respectively. Coming in last is Gold Rush with the side only able to muster up 8.5 assists a game.

Steals

  1. Wizards 17.7
  2. Breeze 10.5
  3. Swish 10.5
  4. Gold Rush 10.00
  5. Wildcats 10.00
  6. Dream 8.3

 

The Wizards further showcased their star power leading the way with steals averaging an impressive 17.7 a game highlighting their defensive intent and cleanliness at the contest. Charlisse Leger-Walker bobbed up once again with a competition high of 5.3 steals while Boagni is only fractionally behind with her four steals a game.The Breeze and Swish are tied as the next best with 10.5 each while Gold Rush and Wildcats have also proven they are more than capable of getting their hands dirty with 10 steals to their name respectively. Dream on the other hand have somewhat s struggled only registering 8.3 a game.

Photo credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

Boagni stars again as the Wildcats make it two from two

TESSA Boagni was dominant again as the Canterbury Wildcats came away with a 20-point victory over the Auckland Dream on Sunday night’s New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) fixture.

Boagni made shots from inside the paint and beyond the arc to finish with 27 points on the night as she completed another double-double after recording 11 rebounds.

The Wildcats took control early in the contest with Lauryn Hippolite and Nicole Gleason both hitting a pair of three pointers in the first term, with Hannah Mischewski and Boagni also on target from long range. For the Dream, Esra McGoldrick and Amanda Wayment each had four first quarter points, but despite recording eight offensive rebounds, the Dream were unable to convert their second chance points often enough. The Dream were restricted just 12 points at the end of the first, as the Wildcats held a nine-point lead.

A rare three-pointer from Wayment opened the scoring in the second quarter after two minutes of action, as the Dream kept in touch with the Wildcats, with Lauren Whittaker’s made three cutting the margin to just six points. Boagni then took control of the contest, piling on 11 points of her own in the final five minutes of play, leading the Wildcats into half time with a 41-28 lead.

Early points to Mischewski and Boagni in the third extended the Wildcats’ lead out to 18 points and the Dream were never able to cut the deficit into single digits for the rest of the match. A Gemma Etheredge three ball with five minutes remaining in the fourth put the Wildcats ahead by 28 points, before a couple of threes from Jelena Vucinic helped reduce the final margin back to 20 points. The score ended 78-58, with the Wildcats securing their second win in as many games to start the new season on a high.

For the Dream, it was somewhat of a tired performance playing in their third game of the round, having already lost to the Wizards and defeated the Breeze. They made just 29.2 per cent of their field goals (21 from 72), and despite dominating the glass with 55-41 rebounds, including 18 offensive boards they were unable to capitalise with their poor shooting throughout the contest.

In comparison, the Wildcats made 38.5 per cent of their field goals, with their impressive three-point shooting proving to be a decisive factor in the game. Boagni made four threes, with Gleason, Etheredge, Mischewski and Hippolite all making two, and Sapphire Wairau adding another as the team shot 41.9 per cent (13 from 31) from beyond the arc. The Dream only managed five three pointers for the match, shooting at 22.7 per cent.

Boagni played the starring role once again as she also added two blocks and three steals to her 27 points and 11 rebounds. She shot at 42.1 per cent from the field and made 4 from 8 three pointers. Mischewski also had a solid game with 15 points of her own, while Gleason had 12 points for the match.

Wayment and McGoldrick led the way for the Dream, with Wayment recording 15 points and 14 rebounds, including a huge eight offensive rebounds, while McGoldrick completed her double-double game with 11 points and 15 rebounds, along with two blocks and two steals. Olivia Berry was also a factor for the Dream with 13 points and six rebounds.

The Wildcats will have a few days rest before they face a tough three game round next week, beginning with the Swish on Thursday night. As for the Dream, they will look forward to a much lighter week, with only one game against the Swish on Friday.

 

Picture credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

Boagni leads Wildcats to hand Breeze first loss in two seasons

TESSA Boagni has stepped up to the plate to lift her Canterbury Wildcats side to a five-point thrilling overtime win against reigning champions Harbour Breeze in the first nail-biting New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) contest of the season. The result marked the Breeze’s first defeat in two seasons, after going through the 18IN18 competition undefeated in 2020. With Boagni not only hitting a game-tying jumper to send the match into overtime, she finished with a mind-boggling 34 points and 21 rebounds in a clear best-on performance for the Wildcats during the 75-70 victory.

It was a seesawing opening term, as the Breeze took the early lead, then the Wildcats regained control to hold a five-point advantage midway through the quarter. That did not last as the Breeze produced a nine-point turnaround to be four points up at the first break. A quarter later, both sides were all square as the Wildcats drew level at half-time.

The third term looked like the Breeze were going to run away with it, racing out to a double-digit lead midway through the quarter and were firmly in control. The Wildcats – led by Boagni – refused to give in, getting back to even keel before some late baskets to the Breeze gave them a four-point lead into the last term. That final term still saw the Breeze in control, with the Wildcats only hitting the front momentarily midway through the quarter, and in the last 10 seconds, Boagni’s long-rang bomb tied the scores at 62-apiece to send the game into overtime.

With 4:08 left on the clock in overtime, the Breeze held a narrow one-point lead. Boagni had something to say about that with six straight points before coming to the bench for a rest. The Wildcats got out to as much as a seven-point lead with 1:58 on the clock thanks to their eight-point run, and then eight wit ha final free throw in the dying 30 seconds, before Tiarna Clarke hit a consolation three-pointer to cut the final margin to five, 70-75.

Canterbury led the shooting accuracy with 34 to 31 per cent, having 10 more attempts and nailing five more makes. They also controlled the rebounds (56-44) and assists (20-10), though the Breeze were strong at denying the Wildcats the easy baskets with more blocks (7-1). The Breeze also had more points from turnovers (22-15) with one less turnover (20-21), though the Wildcats made up for it with dominant wins in the paint (38 points to 24) and second chance points (16-4).

Boagni was unstoppable with 34 points – at 52 per cent from the field – and 21 rebounds – 16 defensive – whilst also collecting five steals to be the obvious game Most Valuable Player (MVP). She had triple the points of any teammate, with Lauryn Hippolite the next most with nine – but collected 10 assists which were half her team’s total assists – and four rebounds. Andrea Gleason (eight points, two steals) was next in line, whilst Terai-Ma-Teata Elia (seven rebounds, three assists) and Gemma Etheredge (six rebounds) both impacted off the boards despite being inaccurate from their own shooting with four points apiece.

Clarke was the clear standout one for the reigning premiers, putting up 30 points, though at a lower 34 per cent efficiency. She shot four of 14 from beyond the arc to pick up the most three-pointers of any player on the court, and also had the four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Gabriella Fotu led from the front with seven rebounds and seven assists to go with 13 points and four steals, while Jazz Kailahi-Fulu managed the 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Keeley Tini failed to hit a field attempt from six chances to only finish with two points, but amassed nine rebounds and four blocks to be a menace close to the defensive basket.

Harbour Breeze have a quick turnaround to take on night one losers Auckland Dream in a battle where one must break their drought, whilst the Wildcats will take on the Dream tomorrow in big weekend for Auckland.

Picture credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

2021 NZNBL Women’s Round 1 preview: Dream and Wizards’ triple treat over opening weekend

AUCKLAND Wildcats and Waikato Wizards have a busy opening weekend of action, tipping off the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) competition tonight, in the first of three games across the weekend. The Dream face reigning premiers Harbour Breeze on Saturday, and Canterbury Wildcats on Sunday, whilst the Wizards face Otago Gold Rush and Capital Swish back-to-back over those days. In the Friday games, the Gold Rush and Swish lock horns, while the Breeze and Wildcats aim to do battle.

The battle to watch tonight between the Dream and the Wizards has to be up the Dream’s offensive end with plenty of firepower stocked up ready to explode. Auckland has plenty of options it can roll through the offensive setups, while the Wizards will look to go one step better than their 2020 runner-up finish on the back of a strong defensive setup.

The talking point will be Esra McGoldrick running out for the Dream against her former side, and will look to continue the magic she created for the Wizards last year. With the likes of Amanda Wayment, Sharne Robati and newcomer Milomilo Nanai, the Dream have a lineup that could go all the way.

The Wizards have their own inclusions to watch for, with Charlisse Leger-Walker and Krystal Leger-Walker returning from college basketball at Washington State. Add in the experienced Pep Flavell and last year’s leading scorer Kayla Manuirirangi and All-Star Team representative Maka Daysh, and the Wizards are more than capable of matching it with the Dream.

Reigning champions Harbour Breeze will first play the Wildcats before setting their sights on the Dream, with a strong side despite some key losses from the championships team. Without 2020 NZNBL MVP Brooke Blair and international representative Zara Jillings, the Breeze will look to the likes of Ella Fotu, Tiarna Clarke and Jazz Kailahi-Fulu, with question marks over WNBL veteran Micaela Cocks (Australian COVID-19 lockdowns) and Ash Kelman-Poto (returning from injury), it will be fascinating to see how the Breeze handle the obstacles.

The Wildcats have been bolstered by the return of Tessa Boagni (pregnancy) and Lauryn Hippolite (injury) who both missed the 2020 season. While Shay Crotty has retired, the likes of Gemma Etheredge, Brittany Richards and Millie Knight are among those who have returned, with Hannah Mischewski touted as one to watch by coach Mel Downer.

In the other game, Otago Gold Rush take on Capital Swish with the Gold Rush then having a 24-hour turnaround to meet the Wizards, while the Swish get a two-day break for their Sunday meeting with the Wizards. Lisa Wallbutton and Savanna Handevidt are the two massive keys to the Gold Rush’s side, especially with key departures from All-Star Team member Zoe Richards and Youth Player of the Year Te Araroa Sopoaga. Four Junior Tall Ferns including Hannah Matehaere, and Annabelle Ring are among others to keep an eye on for the Gold Rush.

All eyes will be on key recruit Sopoaga who will face her former side in the opening match of the Swish’s season, joining international squad members past and present of Stella Beck, Josie Stockill and Jacinta Beckley in the side. The return of Fijian international representative Letava Whippy after a massive 2020 season is also a welcome return, with Paris Lokotui one of a number of returnees who showed good signs last year.

It all tips off tonight with the Dream and Wizards, and all seven games are broadcast live on Sky Sport New Zealand.

ROUND 1 FIXTURE:

Thursday, August 12:

Auckland Dream vs. Waikato Wizards

Friday, August 13:

Otago Gold Rush vs. Capital Swish
Harbour Breeze vs. Canterbury Wildcats

Saturday, August 14:

Waikato Wizards vs. Otago Gold Rush
Harbour Breeze vs. Auckland Dream

Sunday, August 15:

Waikato Wizards vs. Capital Swish
Auckland Dream vs. Canterbury Wildcats

 

Picture credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

2021 NZNBL Women’s team preview: Canterbury Wildcats

The 2021 Sal’s New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) season is right around the corner with 33 games to be played across five action-packed weeks. As we look forward to the first tip-off, Draft Central will be previewing each of the six teams competing for championship glory, continuing with the Canterbury Wildcats.

After a winless 2020 season, the Wildcats are “chomping at the bit” to get back on the court according to head coach Mel Downer, as her team prepares for the beginning of the 2021 campaign.

The squad has a couple of welcome returns in Tessa Boagni and Lauryn Hippolite, after Boagni missed last season having given birth, while Hippolite was one of two players who suffered an injury the week before last season begun, with Tessa Morrison still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Speaking on Boagni, Downer said it was “exciting to have her back in the fold”.

“She’s a Canterbury Wildcat from years past as well, so she’s got a lot of experience to add.”

As the Wildcats gain the well-versed Boagni, they will lose the experienced head of Shay Crotty who has retired. Meanwhile, a strong core returns this season including Gemma Etheredge, Rosalia Samia, Millie Knight, Tiana Placid, Brittany Richards and Sapphire Wairau.

Downer says one to watch this season is Hannah Mischewski given her form as of late.

“She’s been carving it up in the local leagues here… and she’s a rising point guard of the game and someone to keep an eye out for.”

After an interrupted week leading into last season, Downer is looking forward to a fresh start this season and says the Wildcats are focused on their process.

“We started a process last year around professionalism and a style of play that we think if we were able to execute and do consistently well, it puts us in a place to be successful. So, the goal for us is to build on the process that we started last year, and to really use that as a foundation to be consistently competitive,” Downer said.

Downer said it is no surprise to anyone who saw the NBL last season that she loves to coach a high intensity, aggressive defence and allow the offence to follow from good guarding of opposition players.

“Expect to see again a lot of ball pressure, lane pressure and full court defence. That’s how we like to play and generate our offence from our defence.”

The hard pressing defence Downer talks about was on display last season as the Wildcats clearly led the league in steals per game, with their average of 16.4 almost three more than the next best in Harbour Breeze. Unfortunately, though, Canterbury leaked the most points out of any team (343 across their five matches) and were ranked last in the competition for blocks (0.8 per game). They also scored the least amount of points averaging 54.6 per game.

The Wildcats will certainly be looking to generate more scoring chances on the back of their high steal numbers, while also looking to tighten up their defence around the basket, something which Downer says the players have been working hard on during a long pre-season.

“We’ve been scrimmaging, bringing in some local guys to come in and play against us, which has been really helpful with our preparation, but it doesn’t replicate the real thing. So, the players are really excited to get out of preseason and get into the competition phase.”

Asked about making the jump into the finals this year, Downer said the team is just focusing on each game as it comes.

“For us, it’s just one game at a time, so that’s all we can control, how we approach each game. So, our mindset at the moment is just taking care of business each game as it comes, and if we can do that the rest takes care of itself,” she said.

The Wildcats will be put to the ultimate test when they face reigning champions Harbour Breeze on Friday night (8pm local time), before they suit up again on Sunday night against Auckland.

All 33 games will be played at Pulman Arena in Takinini, South Auckland, and make sure you’re watching Sky Sport in New Zealand for all the live action.

2021 season roster:

  • Tessa Boagni
  • Nicole Cutler
  • Tarai Elia
  • Gemma Etheredge
  • Nicole Gleason
  • Lauryn Hippolite
  • Millie Knight
  • Hannah Mischewski
  • Tiana Pacid
  • Brittany Richards
  • Rosalia Samia
  • Emma Trolove
  • Sapphire Wairau

 

 

Picture credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

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.

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

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