The New Zealand Under 17 Womens team is en route to India ahead of the 2017 FIBA U16- Womens Asian Championship. The Championship will begin on Sunday 22 October in Bangalore and double as the Under 17 Womens Basketball World Cup qualifiers. The top four teams will qualify for that World Cup, which is to be played in Minsk, Belarus next year.

New Zealand has been drawn in Group A alongside Australia, Korea and Chinese Taipei.

New Zealands opening game will be a tough ask as they face off against Oceania rivals Australia in their opening game on Sunday 22 October at 11am local time (6:30pm NZT).

Once Pool Play is completed, the Group A teams will cross over with the Pool B teams in the quarter-final match ups. Pool B is made up of three times champions China, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Tall Ferns trialist Charlisse Leger-Walker will lead New Zealand fresh off a 48 points MVP performance for St Peters School Cambridge in the Final of the Schick AA Secondary Schools Championships.

Leger-Walker has already had some overseas international experience this year, as she was a member of the New Zealand Under 18 team at the Oceania Championships in Guam back in July. The 16 year old guard led the Kiwi scoring at that tournament averaging 15.5 points per game.

Schick AA Tournament Team members Ella Bradley and Sharne Pupuke-Robati are also in the twelve, as is Schick A Tournament MVP Isabelle Cook from Opunake High School in Taranaki.

Taurangas Briarley Rogers (Aquinas College) was also named in the Schick A Tournament Team alongside Cook.

Five of the team will be making their international debuts including Kyra Paniora from Queensland, the only overseas-based player in the squad, and Under 17 Aon Nationals MVP Tayla Dalton.

Head Coach Lori McDaniel is excited about the challenge ahead.

"Being the first New Zealand age group team to play in an Asia Championship is exciting in its own right. Then if you add in the factor of playing in India and the unknowns that creates, it provides added stimulus and intrigue.

"We have prepared well prior to travelling, but the real work will commence when we arrive in Bangalore. We will have four days of acclimatization and training ahead of the opening game of the tournament against Australia.

"By then we will have been together for over a week and the girls and coaching staff will be itching to play a game," says Coach McDaniel.

NZ Under 17 Womens Team:

- Ella Bradley (Waikato Basketball Council)

- Isabelle Cook (Taranaki Country Basketball Association)

- Tayla Dalton (Harbour Basketball)

- Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Council)

- Paris Lokotui (Wellington Basketball Association)

- Jordyn Maddix (Harbour Basketball)

- Helen Matthews (North Canterbury Basketball Association)

- Kyra Paniora (Australia)

- Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Counties Manukau)

- Briarley Rogers (Tauranga City Basketball Association)

- Rosalia Samia (Basketball Hawkes Bay)

- Tessalonia Talo-Tomokino (Harbour Basketball)

Staff:

- Lori McDaniel - Head Coach

- Jody Cameron - Assistant Coach

- Gina Farmer - Assistant Coach

- Ushma Shah - Manager

- Tegan Tapara - Physiotherapist

- Delwyn Whale - Head of Delegation

For more on the FIBA U16 Womens Asia Cup, including information about livestreaming, games and times, go to the official FIBA website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/asia/u16women/2017

- Clarification: Please note that New Zealands and FIBAs terminology are different - FIBA Under 16s means 16 years and younger, which is the equivalent of New Zealands Under 17s.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand