WBC champs ripe for taking
As he prepares to defend his Women’s Basketball Championship, Oceana Goldrush coach Brent Matehaere is looking at the big picture.
The champions rolled up to Nelson this weekend with the heart ripped out of the roster that defeated Nelson Sparks in the final and unseated Harbour Breeze from the NZ women’s throne last year.
American-born MVP Casey Lockwood has finally earned a spot on the Tall Ferns and is currently in Turkey, preparing for next week’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Dual international Suzie Bates has, rightly, decided to concentrate her talents on her role as captain of the cricketing White Ferns, while towering centre Daneka Wipiiti – 21 points/15 rebounds in the 2011 final – is missing in action, last reported playing Taranaki club netball.
So, for the first of three weekend tournaments in this year’s WBC, the Goldrush bear little semblance to the outfit that dominated last year’s show.
“We’ve got quite a number of players missing and we lost another on Tuesday night with an ankle injury,” laments Matehaere, who earned Coach of the Year honours for his exploits 12 months ago.
“This tournament will be about who’s here.”
The rosters finalised this week show a good spread of talent – some old and some new – that could make this championship the most keenly contested yet. How many of those potential stars turn up for the opening round remains to be seen, though.
The absence of Tall Ferns could prove a leveller and perhaps the best-placed teams are those with fringe internationals that didn’t quite make the cut at this month’s trials.
In Otago’s case, much will rest with forward Samara Gallaher, a member of last year’s All-Star Five, who’s returned from her freshman year at Southwest Baptist University, Missouri , in need of a pick-me-up.
“Like a lot of kids that go to the States, I think Sam’s a bit disillusioned about how things went over there,” says Matehaere.
The Goldrush have just four games over the next three days and their first opponents – newcomers Rotorua Lady Vols – will already have made their WBC debut earlier on Friday morning. But their other three rivals – Harbour, Hutt Valley Flyers and Waikato Wizards – are formidable.
Under the circumstances, every win is a bonus for the champions, who hope to regroup for the next round at Lower Hutt next month where they have six games.
“I’m looking at the war, rather than the battle,” says Matehaere.
Women’s Basketball Championship
Tournament One – Saxton Stadium, Nelson
Friday, June 22
Nelson Sparks v Palmerston North Storm
Canterbury Wildcats v Rotorua Lady Vols
Taranaki Trojans v Harbour Breeze
Waitakere West Auckland Rangers v Kelvin Hotel Southland Pearls
Waikato Wizards v Hutt Valley Flyers
Oceana Goldrush v Rotorua Lady Vols
Palmerston North Storm v Kelvin Hotel Southland Pearls
Waitakere West Auckland Rangers v Canterbury Wildcats
Nelson Sparks v Taranaki Trojans
Hutt Valley Flyers v Harbour Breeze
Saturday, June 23
Taranaki Trojans v Rotorua Lady Vols
Harbour Breeze v Kelvin Hotel Southland Pearls
Palmerston North Storm v Waitakere West Auckland Rangers
Oceana Goldrush v Hutt Valley Flyers
Waikato Wizards v Canterbury Wildcats
Nelson Sparks v Kelvin Hotel Southland Pearls
Waitakere West Auckland Rangers v Taranaki Trojans
Rotorua Lady Vols v Hutt Valley Flyers
Oceana Goldrush v Waikato Wizards
Canterbury Wildcats v Harbour Breeze
Sunday, June 24
Waitakere West Auckland Rangers v Nelson Sparks
Waikato Wizards v Rotorua Lady Vols
Palmerston North Storm v Taranaki Trojans
Harbour Breeze v Oceana Goldrush
Rotorua Lady Vols v Kelvin Hotel Southland Pearls
Waitakere West Auckland Rangers v Hutt Valley Flyers
Waikato Wizards v Taranaki Trojans
Nelson Sparks v Canterbury Wildcats
Philippa Connell, Anna Constable, Stacey Costain, Shea Crotty, Fran Edmondson, Inez Folmer*, Dallas Frederikson, Hayley Gray, Courtney Hamblin, Melissa Harrison, Rosanna Katene, Nikki Kettle, Rebecca Lough, Hannah MacKay, Vanessa McCarthy, Kate McLaughlin, Anita Snowdon, Charissa Theyers, Hannah Turton, Terina Wanoa
Coach – Paul Neilson
Assistant coach – Sean Fuller
Manager – Helen Hamblin
Brooke Blair, Shinae Blair, Natasha Hall, Jordan Hunter, Ashleigh Kelman-Poto, Anna Lacey, Kate Lacey, Charmian Mellars, Claire McCurran, Milika Nathan, Chelsea Terei, Jaycin Tini, Rebecca van Kuyk, Halsey Ward*, Karlene Kingi, Noni Wharemate
Coach – Jody Cameron
Assistant coach – Angela Perrott-Hunt
Manager – Tim Palmer
Hutt Valley Flyers
Stella Beck, Jacinta Beckley, Ava Filipo, Joanna Judge, Kathryn Kinvig, Shinae Kiriau, Sonya Milford, Milomilo Nanai, Kahu Poi, Lisa Scott, Margaret Scott, Jessica Slade, Courtney Stubbins, Bulou Tuisue*, Meaghan Wilby
Coach – Denise Morgan
Joanna Andrew, Lisa Book, Jessica Bygate, Jaime Campbell, Ashleigh Dellabosca, Jane Gowans, Jodi Hikuroa, Lily Hospers, Kat Jones, Shannon Perrett, Nicky Rampton, Gracie Roberts Kaitlyn Stringer, Jelena Vucinic, Hana Wilkinson
Coach – Tatjana Zizic
Manager – Alison Perrett
Grace Allan, Jodi Brown, Danielle Calnan, Samara Gallaher, Kelly Groot, Nicole Hellyer, Soraya Jensen, Renee Johnson, Casey Lockwood, Janet Main, Patrice Mckenzie, Kelly Nafatali, Katherine Ralph, Summer Roberts, Te Paea Selby-Ricket, Natalie Smith, Dayna Turnbull, Sophie van Velthooven, Daneka Wipiiti
Coach – Brent Matehaere
Assistant coaches – Melanie Bennett & John Paul
Manager – Marelda O’Rourke-Gallaher
Palmerston North Storm
Natalie Baylis, Eloise Campbell, Georgina Campbell, Rachel Craig, Sharleen Holden, Gabrielle Kelly, Bridgette Lawn, Jemma Lawton, Alicia McEwen, Freya Newton, Danielle Pomare-Mackay, Helen Richardson, Michelle Swain, Shanice Swain
Coach – Joe Frost
Manager – Helen Richardson
Rotorua Lady Vols
Gabriela Adams, Jewel Albert, Whitney Cairns, Atawhai Courtney, Matangiroa Flavell, Maria Gardner, Aroha Jennings, Breana Jones, Danielle Marks, Tania Neale, Ellen Pene, Te Kirikauri Pene, Bailey Ross-Waitai, Nadine Stone, Hana Tapiata, Moerangi Vercoe, Kaysha Whakarau, Tenielle Wilkinson
Coach – Darrell Pene
Assistant coach – Jeff Green
Manager – Sue Pene
Kelvin Hotel Southland Pearls
Rosie Brown, Elise Cassidy, Hayley Crofts, Naomi Erskine, Amy Ferguson, Hannah Gentle, Lilly Griffin, Sarah Hamilton, Lucy Heenan, Stacey Hickford, Grace Holland, Erin Howes, Morgan Hunter, Bailey McDougall, Kendall McMinn, Amy Nicol, Hayley Saunders, Te Huinga Selby-Rickett, Paschael Tawhara, Donna Wilkins
Coach – Richard Dickel
Veronica Andrews, Kathryn Banks, Amber Bellringer, Jana Bint, Sophie Cleaver, Megan Compain, Ashleigh Crowley, Hannah Flemming, Jennifer Hacker, Victoria Hill, Zoe Kensington, Bella McCallum, Grace McCallum, Molly McCallum, Chantelle Ngaia, Katie O’Donnell, Renee Pomare, Terai Sadler, Toni Scharader, Josie Stockill, Cara Stonnell, Lauren Stonnell
Jaimee Agnew, Aleesha Coulter, Aimee Firmin, Carolyn Grey, Sharee Hamilton, Jaylen Hawea, Sarah Kinred, Natasha Lenden, Dionne Martin, Chelseah Savage, Laura Schnuriger, Camella Shortland, Miriam Slatter, Rhaiah Spooner-Knight, Leanne Walker
Coach – Puke Lenden
Waitakere West Auckland
Wuanyei Ah-Hing, Penina Davidson, Malu Faasavalu, Amanda Harris, Barbara Joseph, Jordina Katu, Isabella Lawrence, Adoniah Lewis, Keziah Lewis, Maria Milani, Chevannah Paalvast, Joyce Ramos, Ilona Silva, Te Oramae Solomon, Michelle Tangiariki, Habiba Tawfik, Stevee-Rose Theyers, Karli Tuia, Maureen Tuia, Rebecca Work
Coach – Aik Ho
Assistant coach – Greg Davidson
Manager – Julie Harris