Krystal and Charlisse Leger-Walker put on a basketball masterclass as Waikato Wizards defeated ETCO Auckland Dream 94-59 in the opening game of the 2021 Sal’s NBL season at Pulman Arena on Thursday night.
Charlisse threatened a triple-double with 31 points, 8 rebounds and 9 steals while Krystal finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds and a couple of steals and assists.
The performance and the size of the victory will have sent shock waves around the league with the Wizards clearly marking themselves as the team to beat this season.
Almost predictably, Charlisse Leger-Walker made the opening score of the game, in fact she scored the first 16 points before another Wizard (sister Krystal) troubled the scorers. The Wizards ahead 31-16 at quarter time.
Sharne Robati and Esra McGoldrick were making insertions at the offensive end for the Dream, but Leger-Walker was past the 20-point mark early in the second as the Wizards lead grew.
Robati, the NBL’s leading scorer in 2020, scored from deep but there was plenty for the Dream to think about at half-time trailing 46-28.
Olivia Berry and Robati sparked a Dream mini revival after the interval to cut the deficit to 12 points before Breana Jones answered with a baseline jumper.
A Jelena Vucinic three was bettered by a couple of scores from Breeje Schuler – the Wizards comfortably placed at the three-quarter mark ahead 64-43.
Schuler, the 2021 U19 Nationals MVP, took her tally into double figures, Maka Daysh did likewise as the Wizards cruised towards victory.
Waikato Wizards (94) beat Auckland Dream (59) – BOX SCORE
WIZARDS: Charlisse Leger-Walker (31pts, 8rebs, 9 steals, 4 assists), Krystal Leger-Walker 17pts, Schuler 17pts, Daysh 11pts, Jones 10pts
DREAM: Robati 22pts, Buchman 11pts, Berry 8pts, Vucinic 8pts
BARTERCARD MVP VOTES
Charlisse Leger-Walker (Wizards) 10
Sharne Robati (Dream) 7
Krystal Leger-Walker (Wizards) 6
Casyn Buchman (Dream) 3
Breeje Schuler (Wizards) 2
Olivia Berry (Dream) 1
Maka Daysh (Wizards) 1