Tauihi Preview – Round 6

Photo credit: Angela Ruske

Southern Hoiho vs. ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens - Wednesday, 7:30pm

Key Stats:



40 rebounds per game (tie 1st in league)

40 rebounds per game (tie 1st in league)

4.1 blocks per game (2nd)

4.6 blocks per game (1st)

25.2% three point percentage (last)

30.4% three point percentage (2nd)

The Hoiho come into the round after two tough losses by the largest margin of the year in games where the offence struggled to find its form. Ashten Prechtel continues to dominate the glass and draw a crowd when she catches it in the low block, but opposing defences are throwing more bodies down low and daring the worst shooting team in the comp to beat them from the perimeter. Paige Bradley has been beaming assists all over the court to keep the offence humming, but an ankle injury to Ahlise Hurst may keep her on the sideline for a spell diminishing the power of a slumping offensive attack. The last time the Hoiho met the Queens they ripped off 27 straight points to seize victory, but coming off a game where the bench contributed zero points the question is where will that firepower come from?

The Queens are coming off perhaps the best played game of the year, a 4-point win at home against the Kāhu that was driven by the electric skills of Chrislyn Carr, who dropped 32 to top the twenty point mark for the 6th time in the last 7 games. Her speed with the ball in hand continues to bend defences allowing room for Stephanie Watts to work on the wing when the ball is swung. Maya Dodson is coming off a 10 offensive rebound game, punishing defences when they fail to finish possessions. The return of Stella Beck has offered more playmaking for a team that has at times been reliant on the isolation game to keep scoring, with the balance she offers to the team paying dividends in the halfcourt.

This one looks to be a battle of styles, with the Queens looking to get out and run to stretch the D, while the Hoiho will look to grind it out in the halfcourt and use their offensive rebounding prowess to slow down the transition game.

Matchup to Watch: Ashten Prechtel vs. Maya Dodson

Whai vs. BNZ Northern Kāhu - Thursday, 7:30pm

Key Stats:



11 made threes per game (1st)

5.1 made threes per game (last)

9.3 steals per game (1st)

8.1 steals per game (2nd)

72.3 field goal attempts per game (1st)

64.4 field goal attempts per game (last)

The Whai have another chance on their homecourt, after their last effort in Tauranga came up just a few millimeters short of forcing overtime to lose to the Pouākai in Round 5. Their defence continues to impress, giving up more than 80 points just once in their four games (82 to the Pouākai in that 1-point loss) highlighting their abilities in that area. Sarah Sagerer continues to stretch defences with her shooting, pulling opposition bigs out of the paint to offer space for Aaliyah Wilson and Mikayla Cowling the space to operate off the bounce or posting up mismatches. McKenna Dale stretches defences with her shooting (six 3’s last round) while offering versatile defence at multiple positions. Depth can be a problem, as outside Jade Kirisome they have failed to find a consistency of contribution, leaving a heavy load for the starting five. But they have proven up to the task of carrying it, especially Cowling who has patiently attacked defences and has a knack for sniffing out mis-matches, both in the post and on the wing. The Whai look their best when playing with pace, but no team is as reliant on the deep ball as they are, making a hot shooting night key to walking away with victory.

While Tahlia Tupaea remains sidelined, the Kāhu will be the closest they have been to full strength this season as the all around game of Opals captain Tess Madgen is added to a team that has been building in strength. IImar’I Thomas continues to confound defenders in the low block and her partnership with Penina Davidson has opponents picking their poison, neither of which has turned out to be a better option. The offence has been methodical, focusing on halfcourt execution and forcing their way to the line to balance an attack that produces the fewest threes in the comp. They can grind down opponents with Krystal Leger-Walker pestering ball handlers and igniting transition chances with her playmaking abilities. An offence that boasts weapons all over the court and has Tera Reed reaching a higher level as a pro can adapt to a faster paced game when needed, showcased by topping 92 in consecutive games, but they find their comfort zone in the half court forcing teams to adapt to their speed. 

The team that imposes its pace and style on the game will have an upper hand early, but these are two teams that are never far from a comeback.

Matchup to Watch: Mikayla Cowling vs. IImar’I Thomas

ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens vs. The Recruitment Network Mainland Pouākai - Friday, 7:30pm

Key Stats:



30.4% from three (2nd)

32.8% from three (1st)

12.9 assists per game (last)

20.7 assists per game (1st)

81.4 points per game (1st)

80.1 points per game (3rd)

The Queens will return home for their second game of the round despite their reliance on their talented import trio, it will be their depth that they will have to depend on in this one. Paris Lokotui and Parris Mason continue to bolster the inside game with their tenacious rebounding and aggressive low post offence, forcing teams into foul trouble when given the opportunity to attack from the elbow or low post.  Josie Trousdell’s defence continues to irritate opponents, providing another shot blocking threat in the back line and another presence on the offensive boards for a team currently last in that category. Rounded out by the offensive talent of Grace Hunter and Tegan Graham the bench is looking to provide a counter balance to an offence that has dished out fewer assists per game than any other team in the league.

Two wins on the trot in very different fashions have the Pouākai off the bottom of the table and carving out their identity on both ends of the court. A slow start offensively seems to be shifting, with the squad able to find 82 points or more in its last three outings after not topping the mark in their first four games of the year. That offence is coming from team play with Kennedy Leonard and Kendell Heremaia racking up assists (19 combined in their last outing) to keep the offence humming. The passing has created extra space for perimeter attack that knocks down three’s at the second best rate in the league creating a more balanced offensive attack that provides opportunity for the import duo of Jasmine Dickey and Natasha Mack to shine. 

This will be a game that is played at pace, and the squad that is able to play at their top speed without turning over possession will most likely walk away with a big win.

Matchup to Watch: Chrislyn Carr vs. Kennedy Leonard

The Recruitment Network Mainland Pouākai vs. BNZ Northern Kāhu - Sunday, 3pm

Key Stats:



9.7 free throws made per game (4th)

20.3 free throws made per game (1st)

8.1 made threes per game (2nd)

5.1 made threes per game (last)

20.7 assists per game (1st)

18.4 assists per game (2nd)

A weekend double concludes with a chance to climb the ladder for the Pouākai as they return to the nest for their second game of the week. The efforts of Natasha Mack will be key in the front court against a Kāhu team that pounds the ball inside. Coming off her best game of the year in Round 5 (24 PTS, 9 REB) against the Whai, she will be looking to reach the same level of efficiency to temper the inside strength of the Kāhu. It can’t be a one woman effort however, and the play of Esra McGoldrick and Sharne Robati will be key to stretching the defensive efforts of the Kāhu. A lack of opportunities at the free throw line are a sign of the perimeter dependance of the squad, but when playing at pace they are able to create more rim attacks. Jasmine Dickey can bend defences with her penetrating abilities, but the more the shooting of the Pouākai can stretch the d the more space she will have to play with.

The Kāhu will be finishing their own weekend double in this one, and keeping the game at their pace will be key to heading North with a win in their pocket. Their focus on attacking the rim, both from the post and off the drive, will be their best weapon in keeping the Pouākai from playing at their preferred pace.  Execution of their sets in the halfcourt will have to be pinpoint to make up for a discrepancy from beyond the arc, as they currently rank last in three’s made and attempted. But with their efficiency of execution and around the rim they have bent games to their will, punishing mismatches forcing teams into help rotations even as they continue to score from the paint. 

This is a game where pace will be key, with the Pouākai hoping to bait the Kāhu into a running game their best chance to play the game on their terms and walk away with a win.

Matchup to Watch: Jasmine Dickey vs. Tess Madgen

Programming note: Rapid League tips-off 1 hour before Tauihi game time


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