The Tokomanawa Queens have started their 2022 campaign with a 82-78 win over the Whai in Porirua.
The Queens poured in 31 points in the first quarter and held the Whai to just 13 of their own. The import trio of Elin Gustavsson, Jaime Nared and Florencia Chagas all hit the ground running for the Queens, in particular Gustavsson who had 10 points in the first quarter. The Queens' perimeter defence was causing the Whai problems early on.
The Whai would make an effort to work it into the paint in the second quarter and they started seeing some results on the scoreboard. Sharne Robati was getting good position under the hoop and had worked her way up to eight points in the half. Stopping Swedish international Elin Gustavsson on the other end was the real challenge, as she dropped in 17 points in the half on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.
Whai would outscore the Queens 23-16 in the second quarter but still trailed 47-36 at the break. Dominique McBryde hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter to work her way up to 13 points. Her outside shooting was opening up the paint for the rest of her team for players like Robati and import Nikki Greene.
The Queens would lead by as much as 20 points in the third quarter, but the Whai closed the quarter on a 13-7 run to keep the deficit at 11 heading to the fourth. It was Argentinian guard Florencia Chagas doing damage for the Queens in the quarter, showcasing her perimeter shooting ability and natural poise when running the offence. She would eventually finish with a very impressive stat-line of 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists with three 3-pointers.
The Whai would go on a run late in the fourth quarter to close the gap to four points, but their scoring outburst came a little too late as they ran out of time to erase the deficit. Despite a slow start, once they settled in the Whai played some solid basketball and were able to score more consistently over the final 20 minutes of the game.
Robati would finish with a team-high 17 points for the Whai, while imports Nikki Greene, Dominique McBryde and Kyra Lambert all managed double digit scoring totals. They were assisted with 12 points off the bench from 3x3 Tall Ferns guard Tiarna Clarke.
The Queens not only possess some firepower through their imports, but they got a Stella performance from captain Beck with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Her work on both ends made a difference for the Queens and she'll continue to be a key cog moving forward.
Both teams will see the court again in Round 1, with the Queens heading north to face the Kāhu on Monday and the Whai hosting the Pouākai on Tuesday.
SCORE: Queens 82, Whai 78
Queens: Chagas 22 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST | Gutavsson 20 PTS, 9 REB | 17 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST
Whai: Robati 17 PTS, 6 REB | Greene 11 PTS, 12 REB | McBryde 15 PTS | Lambert 15 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Florencia Chagas (Queens) - 10 votes
Elin Gustavsson (Queens) - 8 votes
Sharne Robati (Whai) - 8 votes
Stella Beck (Queens) - 2 votes
Dominique McBryde (Whai) - 2 votes
Kyra Lambert (Whai) - 2 votes
Queens – July 4 @ Northern Kāhu
Whai – July 5 vs. Mainland Pouākai
Round 1 Tauihi Schedule