The Tokomanawa Queens have produced some of their best basketball of the GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi season to take down the Mainland Pouakai in a comprehensive 78-59 win.
Having struggled with turnovers and missed shots in a recent loss to the Whai, the Queens showed far more offensive composure in this one and delivered a renewed level of defensive intensity. It was a commanding performance at both ends of the floor.
From the outset the home team found scoring hard to come by, and also soon discovered the defensive pressure applied by the Queens on the likes of star player Trinity Baptiste to be planned and concentrated.
The Queens got out to a flying start before the opening quarter tightened up, going the way of the home team (18-16), who came into the game with an import change having parted ways with Cierra Walker and brought in guard Jailin Cherry as a dynamic replacement. Still suffering from jet lag, Cherry came off the bench and showed enough to suggest she will be a welcome inclusion for coach Tully Bevilaqua.
With little separating the teams after 10 minutes of play, it was the Queens who soon found their range in the second period with a 24-10 run to break the contest open.
Jaime Nared proved dangerous all over the floor and, in particular from beyond the arc where she dropped a number a number of big baskets, while Elin Gustavvson and Florencia Chagas also showed their class for the visitors.
With captain Stella Beck filling the stat sheet, the Queens visibly built some much-needed confidence and started to show a level of play they will no doubt hope takes them all the way to the Final 4 from here.
A 21-16 third period further opened the game up as the Queens punished the Pouakai defensively, turning 15 turnovers into 20 points back the other way. Try as they might, the Pouakai just couldn’t get going and may come out of the game with some concerns over the form of Tessa Boagni, Mary Goulding and Lauryn Hippolite, all of whom were kept quiet in this one.
With the margin ballooning to as much as 23 points, the Queens won the last quarter 17-15 to celebrate their fourth win of the season, their first victory over the Pouakai, and almost certainly locked down a spot in the Final 4.
The form of Nared will have pleased coach Tania Tupu, while Gustavvson’s double-double after a lean run will also have pleased the dual Olympian who returned to the coach’s seat after a bout of Covid.
Erin Whalen did all she could for the Pouakai, but this one belonged to the Queens from start to finish.
Next up for the Pouakai is a trip to Queenstown on Monday night to play the Southern Hoiho, while the Queens will enjoy a mini-break ahead of a Wednesday night clash back in Porirua against the Hoiho.
SCORE: Pouākai 59, Queens 78
Pouākai: Whalen 19 PTS | Baptiste 15 PTS
Queens: Nared 23 PTS, 6 TREYS | Chagas 19 PTS | Gustavvson 12 PTS, 14 REB | Beck 11 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Jaime Nared (Queens) - 10 votes
Florencia Chagas (Queens) - 8 votes
Elin Gustavsson (Queens) - 3 votes
Erin Whalen (Pouākai) - 3 votes
Josie Trousdell (Queens) - 3 votes
Trinity Baptiste (Pouākai) - 2 vote
Maia Jones (Pouākai) - 1 vote
Pouākai - Aug 1 @ Southern Hoiho
Queens – Aug 3 vs. Southern Hoiho
Round 5 Tauihi Schedule