Sparks, Rangers in WBC final
Nelson Sparks will face Waitakere West Auckland for the 2012 Women’s Basketball Championship in Dunedin tomorrow.
Runners-up last year, the Sparks earned a spot in the final, beating former champions Harbour Breeze 62-57 in the first semifinal.
After an opening half where the lead was never more than a few points, Harbour was up by three at the break and stretched their advantage to seven soon after play restarted.
They couldn’t hold it. Brooke Blair’s three-pointer on the buzzer gave the Breeze a two-point lead into the final quarter, but a 12-1 run midway through the period propelled the Sparks into a strong position and they were able to close the contest out.
Nelson centre Nicky Rampton dominated around the basket for 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks, while Jelena Vucinic shot 7/10 from the free-throw line among her 13 points.
The other semifinal went down to the wire, with debutants Waitakere gaining an upper hand over defending champions Otago Oceana Goldrush in the second quarter and held a 12-point advantage just after halftime.
Otago closed to within a point with 21 seconds remaining, but had to foul to get the ball back and Westie point guard Amanda Buck made their free-throws for a 57-52 victory.
In the plate division, Canterbury Wildcats became the last unbeaten team left in the playoffs, toppling Waikato Wizards 59-46 in the afternoon. But they lost their unblemished record with a loss to Southland Kelvin Hotel Pearls in the evening.
Women’s Basketball Championship
Edgar Centre, Dunedin
Friday, August 24
Waikato Wizards 74 (Rhiah Spooner-Knight 17, Aimee Firmin 11, Miriam Slatter 11, Leanne Walker 10) Rotorua Lady Vols 34 (Makayla Daysh 16)
Box Score – Waikato V Rotorua
Kelvin Hotel Southland Pearls 75 (Morgan Hunter 16, Elise Cassidy 16, Te Huinga Selby-Rickett 14, Bailey McDougall 14) Palmerston North Storm 56 (Bridgette Lawn 16, Danielle Pomare-Mackay 15)
Box Score – Southland v Palmerston North
Harbour Breeze 72 (Rebecca Van Kuyk 15, Brooke Blair 13) Taranaki Trojans 43 (Toni Sharader 15, Terai Sadler 10) (G1)
Box Score – Harbour V Taranaki
Waitakere West Auckland Rangers 69 (Penina Davidson 15, Wuanyei Ah Hing 14, Keziah Lewis 13) Hutt Valley Flyers 54 (Lisa Scott 15) (G2)
Box Score – Waitakere v Hutt Valley
Waikato Wizards 46 (Natasha Lenden 15) Canterbury Wildcats 59 (Hayley Gray 14, Pip Connell 13, Courtney Hamblin 11)
Box Score – Waikato v Canterbury
Palmerston North Storm 31 (Shanice Swain 8) Rotorua Lady Vols 54 (Makayla Daysh 24, Tania Neale 10)
Box Score – Palmerston North V Rotorua
Semifinal one – Nelson Sparks 67 (Nicky Rampton 16, Jelena Vucinic 13, Kat Jones 10) Harbour Breeze 57 (Rebecca Van Kuyk 14, Brooke Blair 13, Shinae Blair 10) (G3)
Box Score – Nelson v Harbour
Semifinal two – Otago Oceana Goldrush 52 (Danielle Calnan 14, Soraya Umaga-Jensen 12) Waitakere West Auckland 57 (Te Oramae Soloman 14, Adoniah Lewis 11) (G4)
Box Score – Otago V Waitakere
Canterbury Wildcats 55 (Pip Connell 21, Hayley Gray 14) Southland Kelvin Hotel Pearls 67 (Morgan Hunter20, Elise Cassidy 16, Te Huinga Selby-Rickett 14)
Box Score – Canterbury V Southland