Basketball: Kiwis on the Road Mon Feb 22

By Mike Lacey

Isaac Fotu of the Tall Blacks looks to make a pass. Photo / Getty Images
Isaac Fotu of the Tall Blacks looks to make a pass. Photo / Getty Images

Australian NBL

The posse of Tall Blacks in the Breakers squad will have to wait until Friday before finding which New Zealand international will line-up against them in the best of three NBL Grand Final series. Will it be Penney or Kenny?

The semifinal between Perth Wildcats and Illawarra Hawks is locked at one game apiece after both teams won its respective home games. The pivotal third game will be played in Perth on Friday.

Illawarra's Kirk Penney picked up some of the slack created by Kevin Lisch's absence (badly damaged ankle early in game one) scoring 35 points across both games but the Tall Blacks shooting guard did need 33 shots from the field to reach that total. Surprisingly he connected with just 2 from 16 three-point efforts.

Jarrod Kenny (7pts) was his steady self for Perth connecting with both three point attempts and a free throw in game two.

Penney or Kenny, would you bet any?

Australia - WNBL

The Townsville Fire have secured back-to-back WNBL regular season titles with a hard fought 64-57 victory against Adelaide Lightning on Saturday.

The Fire had slipped up on Friday going down 82-69 against the Lynx in Perth but made no mistake 24 hours later.

Against Perth Micaela Cocks played a game high 35 minutes for the Fire contributing 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Teammate Chevannah Paalvast added 3 points and a rebound. Toni Edmondson could not find her range for the Lynx shooting none from four but the Cantabrian did collect three rebounds and dish a pair of assists.

Cocks (5pts) and Paalvast (2pts) were relatively quiet against Adelaide but both will be relishing the prospect of the major semifinal on home court next weekend.

US College - Women

The US college basketball season is heading towards the sharp end of the season. The regular season has just a week or two more of games before conference tournaments get underway in early March.

Brigham Young Uni-Provo wrapped up its first ever West Coast Conference Regular Season title with two games to spare. They met second placed San Diego on Wednesday, the only team they had lost to this season, and won a tight encounter 68-60.
Once again Kalani Purcell was a major architect of the win with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and two steals as BYU stretched its unbeaten run to 15 games.

In the same conference Stella Beck is in the form of her life. Following last week's career best 27 points Beck produced a 20 points outburst for St Mary's Gaels as they defeated Gonzaga, 66-47, on Thursday. This was followed by a triple double threatening 11 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists as Portland was demolished 95-53 - St Mary' move to 12-4 in conference play.

Colgate University Raiders went down 71-58 against Boston University but Josie
Stockill, who already holds the Raiders all time shot blocking record, is now just 4 points shy of 1,000 career points for the Raiders. The Raiders centre returned 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks on the night.

Seattle University Redhawks had a tough couple of games matched up against the two top teams in the Western Athletic Conference. On Thursday they gave the more fancied Univ of Texas Rio Grande Valley a run for their money before eventually going down 76-71. Former Paraparaumu College standout Jacinta Beckley notched 4 points, 3 rebounds and an assist for the Redhawks. Beckley scored 3 points on Saturday in the 66-56 against unbeaten New Mexico State.

Cal State Northridge Matadors are now 4-7 in Big Western Conference games after losing 77-66 against Cal Poly on Saturday. Forward Tess Boagni chipped in with 4 points and two rebounds in 16 minutes for the Matadors

Penina Davidson had a very handy 10pts, 3 rebs, 2 blocks, 2 steals stats line but University of California Berkley Golden Bears went down 72-66 at Utah on Friday.

US College - Men

Tai Webster was in decent form for Nebraska Huskers in the past week. Unfortunately the Huskers slipped to 6-9 in the Big Ten Conference going down 80-64 at Indiana on Wednesdays and 65-62 in overtime at home to Ohio State on Saturday.

The Tall Black guard landed 14 points and dished 3 assists against Indiana. Unfortunately Webster fouled out at the end of regulation time against Ohio, his strong form (9pts/5rebs/5assists/2blocks/1steal), missed by the Huskers in the extra period.

On Monday Jack Salt played the last couple of minutes for Virginia University as the Cavaliers moved to 10-4 in the Atlantic Coast conference with a 73-53 win against North Carolina State. Salt collected a rebound but failed with his only scoring attempt.

Europe -Men

Plymouth Raiders entertained Cheshire Phoenix in the British Basketball League on Sunday, 8th versus 7th, with both teams keen to improve their play-off prospects (top eight qualify).

Helped by 21 points from Duane Bailey it was Plymouth that prevailed 100-89 and they jumped over Cheshire into seventh spot with a 9-14 record. The Raiders shot a highly respectable 11 from 22 from beyond the three-point arc, Bailey nailing 3 from 4 from deep.

Isaac Fotu enjoyed a rare week off as league action took a break whilst the Spanish Cup reached a climax.

Zaragoza host Italian club Dolomiti Energia Trento in the last 16 of the Eurocup on Wednesday followed by a meeting with powerhouse Barcelona in Liga Endesa on Sunday.

Europe - Women

Tall Ferns Jillian Harmon (Le Mura Lucca, Italy) and Erin Rooney (COB Calais France) had a break this week as the major European Leagues paused to allow international games to be played.

- NZ Herald

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