Lacklustre Tall Ferns punished for slow start
Mon, 11 Jun 2012 12:23a.m.
New Zealand women's basketball coach Kennedy Kereama is demanding a drastically improved effort after his lacklustre side lost 72-64 to an Australian development team in Suzhou, China.
Trailing by 19 points at halftime, the Tall Ferns rallied in the third quarter against Australia's Emerging Opals, but had left themselves too much ground to make up.
"Tonight was a real wake-up call for the team," Kereama said.
"Once again, the possession game let us down and we allowed 15 offensive rebounds, and they also out-rebounded us 47-34."
New Zealand fell nine points behind in the opening quarter and lost a further 10 through the second period.
But the Tall Ferns lifted in the third quarter, holding their opponents to just five, although Kereama was forced to play his starters for much of the period as he got very little from the bench.
"Obviously, we had a good response, but to be a team that consistently competes internationally, we can't be digging ourselves 19-point holes in the first half."
Captain Natalie Taylor led her team with 16 points, a tally matched by forward Jillian Harmon and guard Micaela Cocks, although Taylor achieved hers far more efficiently. Harmon also added 10 rebounds for a double double.
The Tall Ferns, who lost 79-73 to China in their first match, play African champions Angola before their do-or-die Olympic qualifying tournament in Turkey later this month.
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