Marita Davydova and the Wildcats were impressive in their opening three games
After two impressive victories in the opening rounds of the WBC, the Canterbury Wildcats found their match in the Auckland Dream, with Tall Fern Kalani Purcell leading the Aucklanders to a 70-61 victory at Cowles Stadium.
The home side held a 34-33 lead at the half time split, but a third quarter slide proved costly, with the Dream taking full advantage of an ankle complaint to the Wildcats’ star recruit Marita Davydova, speeding up their transition and adding 26 points to the Wildcats’ ten.
Davydova was kept scoreless during the third quarter but did finish with her third straight double-double of the weekend, this time 16 points and 14 rebounds. Tessa Morrison scored 13 points, Terai Sadler nine, and Laken Wairau seven.
‘We had a couple of lapses in that third quarter which cost us,’ said Morrison. ‘We had couple in foul trouble as well, which meant a few changes to the make-up of the team on court and perhaps we didn’t adjust quick enough, especially when Kalani took it to us. We allowed them too many easy options to bring the ball out of their own court, she went on to say.
Helen Matthews continues to grow with more time on court, while the return of Tall Fern Tessa Boagni in the coming weeks will also be advantageous to the Wildcats’ chance in games like the one against the Dream. ‘We are a couple of players short still with the likes of Tessa (Boagni) and Shea Crotty out with injuries, so it was really pleasing to see how good we can be against some of the best teams in the league, even without those girls. It bodes well for later in the season,’ said Morrison.
Matthews grabbed her chance to impress on Friday night against the Thunder, as the Wildcats crushed Taranaki 91-24. Matthews teaming up with fellow NZ age group rep Rosalia Samia to lead the Wildcats scoring 19 and 13 points respectively. Matthews controlled the floor, while Davydova clocked up her first double-double of the weekend in just 17 minutes of court time.
The Russian proving her value again in game two against a Harbour Breeze team stacked with Tall Ferns, scoring 24 points and pulling in 14 boards on the way to a tough 69-62 victory. Ajiah Pepe stood out with 17 points while Matthews added nine. Laken Wairau was just one rebound away from her own double-double with ten points and nine boards. ‘We are pretty happy with the Harbour game, they’re a tough team and that was our first really hard game, and we came out on top. I thought we did a good job,’ Morrison emphasised.
The North Canterbury Spirit went one better in the WBC Division Two with three wins from three starts. Although their third game of the weekend was possibly their best game, pushed hard by the Harbour Zephyr, before edging them 78-75. Esra McGoldrick returning home from college to bank 25 points.
McGoldrick played a leading hand in their other two matches scoring 17 of their 73 points when they toppled Northland 73-40 and 30 of the Spirts 71 points when they knocked over Rotorua Lady Gysers 71-64. Maia Waitling and Amy West both adding 10 points each as well.
South Canterbury find themselves at the other end of the table, having lost to Northland 50-61, Harbour Zephyr 46-71 and Rotorua 55-71.
Article written and supplied by #WeAreCanterbury
Photos courtesy BBNZ’s official WBC Photographer Angela Ruske