Tag: paris lokotui

NZNBL 18IN18 team review: Capital Swish

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 continue with the fourth placed Capital Swish who won two of their first three games before dropping their last four games and bowing out in the semi-finals, but not before showing some impressive basketball.

SUMMARY:

Position: 4th
Wins: 2
Losses: 3

STATS:

Points: 60.3 (5th)
Rebounds: 44.5 (2nd)
Assists: 13.3 (4th)
Steals: 11.8 (4th)
Blocks: 3.5 (4th)
FG%: 35 (4th)

Capital Swish are a strong rebounding side, ranked second overall for boards in the 2020 season. Though they finished bottom three in all the other key areas, which ultimately resembled their eventual finishing position. The Swish were not too far off the two sides above them, but a last round loss to the Wizards saw them drop to fourth and have to take on the Harbour Breeze and lose for the second time by an identical margin of 13 points.

RESULTS:

1: defeated Canterbury Wildcats by 13 points
2: lost to Harbour Breeze by 13 points
3: defeated Auckland Dream by 10 points
4: lost to Otago Gold Rush by 10 points
5: lost to Waikato Wizards by 13 points
SF: lost to Harbour Breeze by 13 points

TOP TALENT:

Letava Whippy

A phenomenally consistent effort in a low-scoring side, Whippy led the points, rebounds and assists, making this an easy choice. Spending no less than 31 minutes on court, Whippy showed off her work rate, only dropping into single-digit points once, and stepped up in the semi-final with a mammoth 17 points, 12 rebounds – eight defensive – six assists and five steals. The Swish had plenty of talent, but Whippy was by far the most consistent and fans could always rely on her impact off the boards. By the end of the 2020 season, Whippy finished with an average of 12.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.7 steals per game.

OTHERS:

There were plenty of supporting acts, with Paris Lokotui averaging 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, behind only Whippy and Te Huinga Selby-Rickett (5.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals) in boards for the season. Others who averaged more than five in a statistical area include second highest points scorer, Grace Simi Vaofusi (10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals), and Sariah Penese (5.8 points, 1.8 rebounds). Overall the Swish put together a promising season, but not quite enough to knock off the top ranked Breeze, though the win over reigning champions Auckland Dream was a highlight.

Picture: Photosport

First half dominance cements Breeze grand final spot

A DOMINANT 44-23 first half all but consolidated Harbour Breeze’s New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 Grand Final spot, defeating Capital Swish in the first of two semi-finals. The Breeze won their sixth straight game, this time against the Swish 77-64, to advance through to the big dance, where they will await the winner of Waikato Wizards and Otago Gold Rush tomorrow.

Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu was the first on the board, getting to the basket and scoring a layup in the opening 20 seconds. It was soon matched by her opponent, Grace Simi Vaofusi not long after, and then Vaofusi doubled her score in response to a Brooke Blair basket. Then it all turned into a one-sided affair. Gabriella Fotu hit a jumper, and Ashleigh Kelman-Poto recored back-to-back baskets, and at one stage the Breeze were out to a seven-point lead after an 8-1 run.

The Swish clawed their way back to within three after back-to-back baskets from Te Huinga Selby-Rickett and Letava Whippy, but again the Breeze had the answers, with Kelman-Poto having a starring first term. Another 13-2 run in favour of the Breeze had the title favourites up by as much as 14, which ended up being the quarter time deficit, as both Sariah Penese and Keeley Tini hit both their free throws to end the term.

The news did not get any better for the Swish at the start of the second term as Zara Jillings nailed a three-pointer 90 seconds into the contest. Kelman-Poto continued her hot start and answered each Swish score with points of her own, and the Breeze kept the Swish at arms-length. At one stage Whippy had drawn the Swish back within 14 points, but the Breeze stepped up once again to score nine consecutive points and blow the margin out to 23. Luckily Lilly Taulelei and Whippy both scored in the final minute to add some respectability to the scoreboard, but a dying seconds layup from Fotu made the Breeze half-time lead 19 points.

The Swish needed a massive response to be any chance in the game, and they were quick out of the blocks in the second term as Selby-Rickett, Whippy, Paris Lokotui and Maia Jean Watene all scored to cut the deficit back to 11. Blair was quick to end the drought with a three-pointer, but the Swish were making a game of it. For the first time since the first term, the Swish were within single-digits thanks to a Penese triple midway through the quarter. The Breeze managed to steady in the second half of the term, with Olivia Bell‘s jumper in the final minute putting the advantage out to 11 points.

Bell was also the first scorer of the final term, but Whippy ensured the Swish were not going to go away, but the Breeze just had all the answers. Able to keep in touch with them, the Swish traded blows from long-range with Vaofusi hitting a three-point jump shot in between Tini’s triples, and in the final few minutes, the Breeze were doing enough to hold off the Swish. Each basket had a response and despite Whippy, Vaofusi and Selby-Rickett’s best efforts late in the game, the likes of Tini and Bell were standing up well coming off the bench. When the final buzzer sounded, the margin was 13 points with the Breeze getting up. 77-64.

It was the playmaking efforts of the Breeze that was the difference, picking up 21 assists to 14, and scoring 25 points from turnovers. The bench also stood tall with 25 points to 12, and shot at 51 per cent from inside the arc compared to the Swish’s 37 per cent. The Swish did have a number of wins in the stats, leading the rebounds (44-40), steals (16-15) and second chance points (19-10).

Kelman-Poto led the way for the Breeze by putting up 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in an all-round solid game. Fotu (12 points, six assists, three steals and two rebounds) and Jillings (12 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists) both had sustained impact, while Tini made the most of her minutes, picking up 15 points in as many minutes, also collecting six boards in the process. Brooke Blair finished with a quieter six points, but still had four rebounds and five assists in the win.

For the Swish, Whippy was the star, racking up a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds, as well as six assists and five steals in a clear best-on performance. Lokotui was also strong with 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Selby-Rickett had eight points, six rebounds and two steals. Vaofusi recored the 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, but it would not be enough.

The loss ends the Swish’s season, while the Breeze have a day off to find out their opponent for the NZNBL 18IN18 Grand Final.

Wizards storm home against Swish to claim semi-final spot and extinguish Auckland’s Dream

WAIKATO Wizards have booked a semi-final spot in this year’s New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 competition following a dominant finish to their final match against Capital Swish. The two sides were level at half-time, but the Wizards – who needed a win to guarantee themselves a semi-final spot – piled on 45 points to 21 in a stunning second half to run away with the contest, winning 78-54 and leapfrogging both the Swish and Auckland Dream.

With a semi-final spot on the line, both teams were even across the first half, as Letava Whippy nailed her first two free throws for the opening points on the board for Capital Swish. In an immediate response, Kayla Manuirirangi hit a triple for her side to regain the lead, and the teams traded baskets over the first couple of minutes. Grace Simi Vaofusi and Matangiroa Flavell both produced impress jump shots, with reliable scorers Esra McGoldrick and Paris Lokotui also answering each other for the scores to be level midway through the term.

For every Wizards basket, the Swish answered and vice-versa. With 1:40 on the clock, Flavell nailed a three-point jump shot for the Wizards to go ahead, and Makayla Daysh scored one of two free throws in the final minute for a two-possession game. When the game looked to be winding down in the final 30 seconds, Grace Gordon hit an important step back jumper for the Swish and cut the quarter time deficit to just one with 24 seconds remaining.

Straight out of the blocks in the second term, Sariah Penese hit a triple for the Swish and they regained the lead. The game was busy with three-pointers in the first 12 minutes as Manuirirangi hit a three-point jumper of her own and the Wizards were back in front. The lead did not increase more than three points through the middle of the term, as Dalen Pilitati responded to another Manuirirangi jumper with a game-tying triple with 4:12 on the clock.

After the Wizards held the lead for most of the term, the Swish hit the front following four consecutive points from Jyordanna Davey and Whippy to move one point ahead with 2:35 remaining in the half. The teams again traded baskets, with the Wizards having a lot of late chances, and just as Alana Paewai put her side up by three with a long-range make, Davey answered with 26 seconds on the clock to tie the game at half-time.

Unlike the nail-biting first half, the second half was a complete counter contrast. The Wizards hit the front with a triple from Flavell after plenty of misses from both teams in the opening two minutes, only for Flavell’s three-pointer to be answered by Lokotui’s layup. Another dry spell over the next few minutes saw neither team able to capitalise, but then Daysh came onto court and made a layup and the following And-One chance, with Arielle Parai extending the Wizards’ advantage out to a game-high six points.

Vaofusi managed to cut it back to four with successful free throws six minutes into the term, and whilst the Swish were as close as two points with 1:45 on the clock, they could not seemingly hit the front. The final two baskets of the term went in favour of the Wizards with Jayzelee Waihi’s layup and Paewai’s triple putting it out to seven, before a single free throw from Lokotui with nine seconds on the clock reduced the Swish’s deficit to six at the final break.

Waikato Wizards used the momentum from the third term to storm away with the game in the final term as Waihi’s triple and a Zarya Poulava layup handing their side a double-digit lead for the first time in the game just a minute into the quarter. It triggered a dominant run of 13-straight points with Daysh scoring the last four of them and by the time she hit a jumper with 5:41 on the clock, the Wizards were out to a 19-point lead, 62-43 and it was game over.

To that point, the Swish had not scored, and in fact it took until 4:43 into the term for Davey to get to the basket with a layup, and by then the damage was done. Lilly Taulelei came on and hit some important points late, though the Wizards through Manuirirangi and Daysh did not stop pushing and the pair blew the lead way out to 26 points, with Lokotui’s final layup with 15 seconds on the clock putting the final Swish deficit at 24, and the Wizards booking a semi-final spot with a 78-54 victory.

The Wizards were just dominant across all areas, but the most telling stat was their ability to hurt the Swish on turnovers, scoring 33 points to 14 off the Swish’s 24-20 turnovers. The Wizards also smashed them in the rebounds (50-36), assists (15-8) and second chance points (18-7), whilst sitting at a higher percentage from the field (40 to 32 per cent), and nailing a whopping 10 triples to five.

Manuirirangi had a team-high 18 points, but also collected two rebounds, two assists and one steal. It was the work of Daysh that earned best-on honours, racking up 12 rebounds – eight offensive – to go with 16 points in a big effort. Waihi had 13 points, three rebounds, two assist sand two steals, whilst McGoldrick was not as effective from the field (one from nine for five points) but had nine rebounds, four steals, two assists and one block. Paewai’s contribution off the bench of 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals was impressive, while Poulava picked up nine rebounds – five offensive – as well as three assists and two steals in 14 minutes.

For the Swish, Whippy racked up 15 points, six rebounds and a steal, teaming up with Lokotui (10 points, five rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block) on the offensive end. Te Huinga Selby-Rickett missed all five field goal chances, but she did record nine rebounds as well as two steals and two blocks. Taulelei (three points, six rebounds) and Davey (eight points, three blocks) both provided some strong defensive pressure in the loss.

With one game remaining in the season, both teams will play finals, as the Wizards currently sit second and the Swish in fourth.

Picture: Photosport

Swish storm home in final term flurry to end Dream run

CAPITAL Swish have announced themselves as a genuine title contender, defeating reigning champions Auckland Dream in the 2020 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 competition last night. The Swish came into the night with a 1-1 record having knocked off the Canterbury Wildcats, but lost to Harbour Breeze, while the Dream had also accounted for the Wildcats, as well as Waikato Wizards on opening night.

For the majority of the contest there was not much between them, but a sensational final term and the last seven points of the night went to the Swish, to celebrate a remarkable win. A big last term from Grace Simi Vaofusi – scoring 12 of her team’s 27 points – and a double-double from Letava Whippy were massive differences, leaving the Dream needing to regroup ahead of their final two matches and giving the Swish the upper hand when it came to a top two place in the semi-finals.

From the opening tip-off it was clear the Swish were not going to be pushovers, as Vaofusi and Maia Jean Watene both scored baskets in the opening two minutes whilst the usually reliable Amanda Wayment missed free throws, and three of her teammates also missed jump shot opportunities. Instead it was Wayment who got on the board as the time ticked down with eight on the clock, making the layup to make their fourth shot attempt through a layup, drawing contact and this time producing the And-One chance.

Wayment scored her side’s first five points of the match, as she levelled the scores following Whippy’s 50 per cent strike from the free throw line. Then Sharne Robati put her team in front with a couple of successful free throws, but it proved only temporary as Paris Lokotui and Watene got involved for the Swish to regain the lead. Arielle Williams-Mackey – who was he most prolific scorer in the opening two matches for the Dream – finally got on the board with a long-range bomb, and the teams traded blows.The Swish were a little more accurate later in the term to score seven of the last nine points, with Sariah Penese‘s last minute layup putting her side up by four at the first break, 16-12.

That momentum carried into the second with Vaofusi again having a red-hot start putting up the first four points of the quarter to blow the lead out to eight points and an upset was brewing. Casyn Buchman settled the nerves for the Dream with a vital layup, but again the Swish responded with the next five points including back-to-back layups through Dalen Pilitati and Jyodanna Davey respectively for the lead to hit double-figures midway through the quarter.

Needing a response, the Dream got it through a triple from Robati, an Olivia Berry layup and then four points from Williams-Mackey through free throws and a layup to roar back to within two points in an 9-0 run. Vaofusi halted that with an important basket, and a Pilitati triple following a Williams-Mackey layup and the Swish were back out to a five-point buffer. A last minute jumper from Rionne Papa cut the Dream’s deficit to three at half-time with the Swish up, 30-27.

Entering the third term, both teams traded baskets one after the other and each team the Swish managed to get some momentum, the Dream pegged them back. Whippy was providing plenty of resistance close to the basket, getting the layup, copping the contact and slotting the And-One chance to extend it out to six points, only for a Buchman triple to start a remarkable dream run of 12 consecutive points. Papa and Williams- Mackey added four of those each, and from a six-point deficit, the Dream were suddenly ahead by six points.

Despite it looking like the Dream were going to run away with the contest, Whippy and Lokotui had other ideas with back-to-back baskets before Taulelei hit the game-leveller with just over two minutes on the clock. Buchman responded with a triple, but was countered by Grace Gordon with a long-range success of her own. By the three quarter time buzzer, the teams could not be split at 49-apiece.

Initially Wayment hit the first jumper of the final term to hand her team the lead, but the next seven points of the game went the way of the Swish. The momentum-swinging contest went back the other way, as the Dream came from a five-point deficit to hit eight consecutive points of their own and lead by three with just over five minutes remaining. Back-to-back triples for the Swish just provided some breathing space, as Vaofusi and Lokotui were on song.

Williams-Mackey would produce a layup and then follow up with the And-One chance with 67 seconds left on the clock and her team just three points down. Only 22 seconds later, Te Huinga Selby-Rickett would score her first points of the night to extend the lead out to five for the Swish, and back-to-back three-point attempts went begging from Williams-Mackey and Buchman which proved costly. Gordon and Vaofusi had the final say of the contest, scoring the last five points of the game to lock in a 10-point victory 76-66.

The Swish were far more accurate from the field, hitting three more chances from six less shots, shooting at 42 per cent compared to 34 per cent. They also won the rebounds (52-47) and blocks (3-2), but were level in assists and second chance points, while the Dream had three less turnovers (15-18) and and an additional steal (11-10).

Vaofusi hit 21 points, and had four assists, three steals, two rebounds and a block in a big performance, but it was Whippy who notched up a stunning double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, four steals and one block. Lokotui had a big last term to finish with eight points and six rebounds, while Gordon (eight points, four rebounds) and Davey (seven points, three rebounds) were prominent off the bench.

For the Dream, Williams-Mackey finished with a team-high 16 points, accompanying two rebounds, two assists and one steal, while Robati had the most impact, shooting at a higher clip of 42 per cent to finish with 15 points. Robati also had nine rebounds – seven offensive two assists and two steals on the night. Buchman (13 points, six rebounds) and Papa (10 points, three rebounds and one steal) reached double-figure points, while Wayment (seven points, eight rebounds) provided support off the boards.

The Swish have the chance to back up with a match against Otago Gold Rush tonight, before the Dream return tomorrow night hoping to bounce back, also against the Gold Rush.

Picture: Photosport

Strong Harbour Breeze blows past Swish with dominant second half

AN impressive second half from one of the title contenders in Harbour Breeze has seen the Breeze dominate Capital Swish thanks to their fresh legs coming into the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 tournament for their first match. After the sides were all square at half-time, the Breeze came out with more vigour in the second half, piling on 50 points to 27 to run out 88-65 winners and tip-off their season on the right note.

After an impressive win the night before against Canterbury Wildcats, the Swish looked to started strongly, and whilst they missed a couple of chances early, Grace Simi Vaofusi quickly put a score on the board to counter that of opponent, Tiarna Clarke. The teams were neck-and-neck throughout the opening half and the first term was no different as Zara Jillings got on the board with back-to-back free throws, before Lateva Whippy produced a nice two-point layup to tie the scores.

The first bit of separation came following back-to-back baskets to the Breeze with a three-pointer from Ashleigh Kelman-Poto hitting the mark, then Brooke Blair produced a successful jump shot for a 9-4 lead. Then it became the Swish’s turn to take control, as Whippy, Vaofusi and then Dalen Pillitati all adding points on the board in what became a 10-0 run for the side to go out to a 14-9 advantage.

Following a Blair basket after Jessica Moore free throws, the lead was cut to three, before Pillati hit a three-point jumper for a four-point advantage the way of the Swish. Gabrielle Fotu responded with 40 seconds on the clock and Blair again stepped up with a layup to tie the scores, then pick up a late basket off a Te Huinga Selby-Rickit miss for a 19-19 first term.

The second term mirrored the first early as neither side could gain any real momentum as both defences were forcing misses or turnovers. It took a special Maia Jean Watene turnaround jumper four minutes into the quarter to provide the major highlight early. After that increased the Swish lead to four, the Breeze stepped up with a 7-0 run to regain the lead back with just over four minutes to play.

Blair was becoming a problem for the Swish, as she hit five points either side of an important Selby-Rickit basket, and in mirroring the first term, the Breeze this time skipped out to a six-point advantage with two minutes to play after consecutive jump shots from Keeley Tini and Olivia Bell for a 35-29 lead. Despite Vaofusi stepping up twice herself in the last couple of minutes, Tini and Bell continued to apply the scoreboard pressure. Luckily for the Swish, Paris Lokotui – who had an impressive game the night before – stepped up in the last 50 seconds for the last five points of the game including a long-range make that tied the game at half-time with seconds remaining.

There was no separating the sides at the half, but the moment the teams stepped out on court in the third term, there was a clear separation as the fresh legs of the Breeze had a frenzied approach and could not miss. Gabriella Fotu, Kelman-Poto, Blair and Jillins had piled on 10 points in the first two minutes compared for a 48-38 lead. By comparison, the Swish went 0-5 from the field to start the second half.

It took until a Vaofusi layup in the third minute for the Swish, but the early damage was done. Both teams went into a bit of a scoring drought, but the Breeze added three more points over the next three minutes as the Swish had to wait until Whippy hit successful free throws with just under five minutes remaining for their next score.

Another 5-0 run to the Breeze and the lead had blown out to 14 with just under three minutes remaining in the quarter. Every Swish basket came with a response, and the 16-point lead at the break including an And-One chance from Tini to all but seal the match with that performance.

The Swish would need something special in the final term to turn it around and Lokotui tried early with the first points of the last quarter more than two minutes in, but like the story in the third term, was immediately countered by a Kelman-Poto triple. Blair free throws a minute later and then a Kelman-Poto layup pushed the lead out to a match-high 21 points. From there, the Swish could never get within 18 points, as the Breeze kept responding and had it as much as 24 points at one stage, with the final triple at the 25-second mark of the last term ending the match with a 23-point victory, 88-65.

Despite the large margin on the scoreboard, there was not a great deal to separate the teams with the Breeze ahead marginally in rebounds (46-45), assists (19-16), steals (15-12) and second chance points (12-9). In what has become a broken record all season, the most accurate side got up, with the Breeze hitting 45 per cent of their shots from the field, including 54 per cent from two-point range, compared to the Swish’s 34 per cent in both. The Swish also had six more turnovers (26-20) which proved costly.

Blair was the standout shooter for the Breeze, hitting 19 points at 66 per cent efficiency, including 100 per cent from inside the arc, while picking up four assists and two rebounds. Kelman-Poto hit two of her three chances from outside the arc for 14 points and six rebounds, while Tini (10 points, three rebounds) and Fotu (11 points, five assists and two steals) also ensured there were plenty of points flowing from the bench. Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu might have only added four points in the match, but was crucial off the boards with 11 to accompany her two steaks, while Jillings had seven rebounds with eight points and two assists.

For the Swish, Vaofusi tried hard throughout the match, hitting a team-high 18 points, as well as five rebounds and five steals across 26 minutes, while Whippy (12 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals) led from the front in a double-double performance. Unfortunately that also included eight turnovers, but Lokotui had double-figure points as well with 11, along wiht eight rebounds and three assists. Coming off the bench, Selby-Rickit (five points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks) and Lilly Taulelei (eight points, five rebounds) both provided a presence off the boards.

Tomorrow night the Breeze will lock horns with Otago Gold Rush in a bid to go back-to-back and match Auckland Dream in their strong start, while the Swish become the first side with a 1-1 record and will now rest up until Friday, when they take on the Dream.

Picture: Photosport

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: Capital Swish

CAPITAL Swish are in for an exciting campaign in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) 18IN18 competition. With a couple of familiar names listed in their squad, rotation will be key to ensure that there are fresh legs out on court and the Swish are able to run out full four quarter performances in the condensed season.

They impressed last season taking out the Women’s Basketball Championship Division Two title and will be hoping to bring that intensity and high quality of play into the 18IN18 competition, albeit it in a different format. Deslea Wrathall will once again be at the helm for the Swish after guiding them to victory in 2019 and has brought along a couple of key cogs from their winning side into this competition. One of the most exciting prospects is Letava Whippy who was a key contributor throughout their 2019 campaign knocking back an average of 23.1 points along with an impressive 8.9 rebounds and 2.9 steals each time she stepped out on court. Her overall accuracy was also impressive sitting at 57.7 per cent from the field, something she will be hoping to bring into the upcoming competition. Maia Watene is also back for another season with the Swish after averaging 11.4 points and 4.1 rebounds last year.

Representing the Swish at the Schick 3×3 Cup, both Grace Vaofusi and Sariah Penese will be eager to get back to the traditional style of basketball but will have some valuable minutes under their belt to help the steer the ship. Penese brings an element of international experience with her, having plied her trade at St Marys College University of Maryland Baltimore County while Vaofusi brings more local flavour.

A number of cross-coders fill the Swish outfit with the ever-reliable Southern Steel netball captain in the ANZ Premiership, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit suiting up for the competition. A valued defender in the ANZ Premiership, she is bound to provide plenty of intensity when out on court for the Swish. She is not alone on the netball front with the recently signed Central Pulse youngster Paris Lokotui also making her way onto the roster for the Swish, renowned for her tenacity and impressive closing speed. Teammate now both on the netball and basketball court Te Amo Amaru-Tibble is another one to keep an eye out for Capital Swish. She is a dominant shooter that can find the basket with great ease and has not shortage of experience having represented the Tall Ferns at a junior level, testament to her skillset and high work rate.

 

Team roster:

Te Amo Amaru-Tibble
Tia Calais-Remuera
Paris Lokotui
Jenna-Rose Mafua
Leah Mafua
Sariah Penese
Dalen Pilitati
Jordan Rangitawa
Te Huinga Selby-Rickett
Grace Vaofusi
Lily Taulelei
Bulou Tuisue
Maia Watene
Letava Whippy