The Junior Tall Ferns team has been announced ahead of contesting the FIBA U18 Asian Championships in Bengaluru India, 28 October to 3 November.
The team is:
Ella Bradley. Waikato
Tayla Dalton. Harbour
Rochelle Fourie. Palmerston North
Grace Hunter. Wellington
Charlisse Leger-Walker. Waikato
Mele Latu. Counties Manukau
Leah Mafua. Wellington
Olivia O’Neil. Otago
Te Araroa Sopoaga. Wellington
Emilia Shearer. Harbour
Tessa Taio-Tomokino. Harbour
Charlotte Whittaker. North Canterbury
Sophia Kennedy. Canterbury
Koha Lewis. Waikato
Rasharnn Smith. Harbour
Lawrin Tipene. Harbour
Jody Cameron. Head Coach
Leanne Walker. Assistant Coach
Tim Dennis. Assistant Coach
Peter Lee. Physiotherapy
Kate Lacey. Team Manager
This team sees the admission of younger than usual talent, including three Under 17 National team representatives who have been selected after winning Silver at last year’s U17 Oceania Championships in Guam, and finishing fourth at the 2017 FIBA U17 Asian Championships and 12th at the FIBA U17 World Cup in July this year.
The team will be coached by Tall Ferns Assistant Coach Jody Cameron. She is supported by Assistant Coach Leanne Walker, a former Tall Ferns Captain and Olympian who is also the New Zealand Gold Medal 3x3 Asian Championship winning Coach.
Coach Cameron says she’s thrilled within the group and looks forward to seeing the team compete on the world stage.
“I am very pleased with the talent this team has shown as we prepare to compete in the Asian Champs.
“We have had a number of young athletes push their way into selection, making my job very difficult, but necessary to progress to Worlds,” says Cameron.
The Junior Tall Ferns programme historically prepares talent for the Tall Ferns longlist. Cameron says being involved with the New Zealand talent development programme is special and part of the enjoyment comes from watching players achieve higher honours at the top level.
“It’s always a great honour to coach a junior national team and see players evolve into the senior programme. We hope these athletes have their sights set on being Tall Ferns one day.
“Their development is of high importance in the progress of the women's league and programme in New Zealand. We are starting to see more depth as the game attracts other sporting codes, sees increasing participation at the entry level, and retains those that have gone through their junior years and are now giving back to the game. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this sport,” says Cameron.
The FIBA Asian Championships are a qualifying tournament for the FIBA U19 World Cup. This team will have their sights set on a top four finish to secure a starting spot at that event.
With the success of the Tall Ferns with a Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games and winning the William Jones Cup this year, plus a women’s 3x3 Asia Championship Gold medal, New Zealand women’s basketball is adding more trophies to their cabinet and the pathway is looking bright for these dedicated young players.
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