Basketball: Kiwis on the Road Mon Feb 29

By Mike Lacey

Jarrod Kenny of the Wildcats brings the ball up the court. Photo / Getty Images
Jarrod Kenny of the Wildcats brings the ball up the court. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand interest in the Australian NBL Grand final series doesn't rest solely with the Breakers.

The battle of the Westlake School old boys was won by Jarrod Kenny or put more accurately it is the Perth Wildcats that await the Breakers in the NBL Grand Final.

The Wildcats proved too strong for Illawarra Hawks on Friday night winning the decisive third game 89-74. Although Kirk Penney collected 18 points he was generally well marshalled by the Perth defenders, Kenny (2p/2r/1a) included. Kenny will be participating in his first grand final when the three game series begins in Perth on Wednesday.

There will also be at least one Kiwi international in the Australian Women's National Basketball League Grand Final.

Cantabrian Toni Edmondson (11 points) was one of five Perth Lynx players in double figures as the Lynx stunned defending champions Townsville Fire on Sunday afternoon.

The Australian WNBL Major Semi-Final was expected to be a tight affair but the Lynx dominated from start to finish eventually winning 92-71 to book themselves a place in the Grand Final series in a couple of week's time. Micaela Cocks scored 12 points (4/8FG) and Chevannah Paalvast 4 points (2/3FG) on a day when the Fire was well and truly subdued.

Not all is lost for Townsville as they host South East Queensland Stars in a do or die Preliminary Final next Sunday, the winner to meet the Lynx.

Europe -Men

Zaragoza secured a narrow advantage in its home and away Eurocup last 16 series by squeezing past Dolomiti Energia Trento 85-83 on Wednesday. Zaragoza now has a two point lead to take into the second leg in Italy this week.

Isaac Fotu had 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists for Zaragoza who had a Tomas Bellas basket with 0.7 seconds left to thank for the win. Interestingly a draw is permissible in home and away ties as witnessed in the 82 -82 scoreline in the all German tie involving Alba Berlin and Bayern Munich

It wasn't a total surprise that Zaragoza went down to powerhouse Barcelona in Liga Endesa on Sunday. Barcelona is second on the Spanish League standings with Zaragoza hovering above the relegation zone. Fotu had 9 points (4/7FG) and a pair of rebounds in the 87-76 defeat.

The play-off aspirations of Plymouth Raiders took a bit of a hit on Sunday when it went down 91-83 at Manchester Giants, the bottom team on the British Basketball League ladder. It didn't help the Raiders that they had three starters foul out, one of them being Duane Bailey who finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Europe - Women

Jillian Harmon and Le Mura Lucca roll on in the Italian Serie A, Lucca now boasting an 18-1 record. Despite having to wear a spare set of uniforms provided by their hosts, due to a colour clash, Lucca disposed of Oriveto 66-46 with Tall Ferns forward Harmon scoring 13 points.

US College - Men

According to the Nebraska University Huskers website Tai Webster has blossomed into one of the Big Ten's most improved players this season and is a strong contender for the Big Ten Conference Sixth Man of the Year award.

Webster, who averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in his first two seasons with Nebraska, has raised the bar this term averaging 9.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9
assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Having lost in overtime the previous week Nebraska suffered further agony on Thursday going down 56-55 at Penn State. Webster put up useful numbers in this one too, 7pts/6rebs/4assists/3steals. With two regular season conference games to play the Huskers have a 6-10 record.

Jack Salt didn't make an appearance for the University of Virginia this week as the Cavaliers lost at Miami but bounced back with a home win against North Carolina.

US College - Women

Colgate Raiders lost 83-74 to Lehigh on Wednesday but in scoring 14 points Tall Ferns forward Josie Stockill became just the 20th player in Colgate University Women's Basketball history to pass 1,000 career points.
The Hawkes Bay native piled in a further 18 points on Saturday, plus a career high 16 rebounds, as Colgate secured just its 3rd Patriot League success defeating Lafayette 70-55.

Following a 16th straight win Brigham Young Uni-Provo Cougars has risen to No 22 on the NCAA Division 1 rankings. The West Coast Conference Regular Season champions were much too good for Portland dominating from start to finish to win 84-59 on Thursday. Kalani Purcell finished the game with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a couple of steals.

Somewhat surprisingly the Cougars lost its final regular season game on Sunday going down 73-55 at Gonzaga. Despite the loss Purcell managed to chalk up her 16th double double of the season adding 13 rebounds to 10 points.

In the same conference Stella Beck's St Mary's Gaels (14-4) wrapped up second place in the WCC with a 72-59 victory against San Francisco. Beck continued her recent good form with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block.

Seattle University Redhawks fell 79-48 to Utah Valley in Western Athletic Conference action - 2pts/1reb/1assist for Jacinta Beckley.

Cal State Northridge Matadors gave unbeaten UC Riverside a 25-14 first quarter start and a lead that proved too big to pull back. The Matadors slipped to 4-9 in Big Western Conference games after losing 84-62. On a positive note, after a quiet sequence of games, Tessa Boagni bounced back into form with 13 points, 6 rebounds and a steal.

The University of California Berkley Golden Bears rounded out its regular season with two home games at the weekend. On Friday Penina Davidson (7pts) went 3 from 3 from the field including a score from her only shot from beyond the arc as the Bears beat Oregon 65-54.
On Sunday Oregon State were too strong for the Bears winning a low scoring contest 54-44. Davidson managed 4 points, 4 rebounds and a block in that one. The Bears finished with a 4-14 record in Pac 12 Conference play.

We will have news next week on how some of the Kiwi internationals are progressing in conference tournament play.

- NZ Herald

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