The Tokomanawa Queens completed a successful northern road trip by defeating Whai 65-59 in the final game of Round 6 of GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa. Having beaten the previously undefeated Northern Kāhu the previous evening Queens secured the double at the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre in Tauranga on Sunday evening.
In a gritty team performance Jamie Nared, as she had against the Kāhu, led the way with 20 points while Florencia Chagas (13 points) and Jacinta Beckley (11 points) also played pivotal roles.
The win, while not as decisive as that against the Kāhu, had to be earned without the services of Tall Fern Stella Beck who was forced to the sideline with a leg injury after just 15 minutes.
For the Whai, Kyra Lambert scored 14 points, Sharne Robati tallied a dozen with Nikki Greene posting a customary double-double – 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Whai welcomed back Tiarna Clarke from Commonwealth Games duties and she was on the scoreboard early as the hosts established an 8-7 lead.
Whai also introduced a new import signing in Jori Davis. The former Indiana University standout guard scored with her first shot but that was quickly cancelled out by the in-form Beckley – all square at the end of the first quarter (16-16).
Nared, coming off a season best 28 points against the Kāhu, made the first 11 points for the Queens in the second frame as the visitors opened up a 7-point lead.
Lambert’s corner three was much needed by Whai as they were finding points hard to come by with just 7 in the first five minutes of the period.
Beck’s triple stretched the visitors lead to 9 points but that was the last action from the Queens captain who hobbled off soon after.
New signing Davis made the last score of the half - Whai behind 35-29 at the break.
Greene made the first score of the second half and soon after, the League’s leading rebounder, snared her tenth of the game.
Already shorthanded without the injured Beck, Queens were further inconvenienced when Nared picked up her third foul and had to sit out the remainder of the third.
Whai were initially unable to take advantage of Queens missing two starters until 9 straight points gave them a 44-39 lead.
The response from the Queens was immediate – Grace Hunter capping off a 7 point run to give Tokomanawa a 46-44 three-quarter time lead.
Robati tied proceedings before Argentinian guard Chagas wielded her influence with 6 quick points.
A Davis And-1 play reduced the deficit to a single point (56-55) with five minutes to play although Gustavsson responded to stretch the lead to three and on the next Queens possession five.
After the hosts went scoreless for four minutes Lambert cut the advantage to three with 1:50 to play before Nared restored a two possession margin in the Queens favour.
Following a player timeout Greene made an elbow jumper but the Whai resistance came up short after they incurred an unsportsmanlike foul with 18 seconds remaining. The resulting free throws allowed Nared the opportunity to seal a second road win in 24 hours for the team from the capital.
Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa now has a 10-day break while the Sal’s NBL play-offs unfold.
Following that Whai will enjoy a pair of home games against Mainland Pouākai and Southern Hoiho while Queens will entertain Northern Kāhu to complete their regular season.
Following that final round of games the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa play-offs take place in Nelson (August 26 and 27).
SCORE: Whai 59, Queens 65
Queens: Nared 20 PTS | Chagas 13 PTS & 6 STEALS | Beckley 11 PTS | Gustavsson 8 PTS & 6 REBS
Whai: Lambert 14 PTS & 5 STEALS | Robati 12 PTS | Greene 12 PTS & 12 REBS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Jaime Nared (Queens) - 10 votes
Florencia Chagas (Queens) - 6 votes
Kyra Lambert (Whai) - 6 votes
Jacinta Beckley (Queens) - 4 votes
Nikki Greene (Whai) - 2 votes
Sharne Robati (Whai) - 2 votes
Whai - Aug 19 vs. Mainland Pouākai
Queens – Aug 18 vs. Northern Kāhu
Round 7 Tauihi Schedule