The Rotorua Lady Geysers and Platinum Homes Taranaki Thunder will meet in the first-ever D-League Grand Final at Pulman Arena on Sunday – tip-off 2.30pm.
The Geysers finished round-robin play with a 3-0 record, while the Thunder finished 2-1. In a forerunner to Sunday’s final, the Geysers and Thunder fought out an entertaining round-robin contest with the aforementioned winning 74-68.
Awatea Leach was excellent for the Geysers, compiling 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Young guard Dekoda Te Autu was also close to a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds.
The Thunder had six players with eight points or more, Caitlin O’Connell leading the way with 12. Sunday’s D-League final promises to be a cracker with little to choose between the two teams.
In the opening game on Saturday, the Thunder proved too good for the Tauranga City Coasters, a 24-13 second quarter propelling them to a 78-62 victory.
2019 New Zealand U17 representative O’Connell led the Thunder with 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Kaatia Watene had almost identical numbers for the Coasters posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
The Geysers defeated the Northland Phoenix in the second game of the day 72-40, with Leach scoring 16 points on 7 from 9 from the field. For the Phoenix, Te Rina Cameron-Tana posted a team-high 12 points.
In the afternoon game, the Phoenix trailed by just four points, 56-52, with two minutes to play, Aleesha Coulter (14 points) then making it a two-point game with 42 seconds remaining. Experienced Coasters point guard Chelseah Savage (10 points and nine rebounds) then drew a foul before nailing a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to close out a narrow 58-54 win.
Coasters 62 – Kaatia Watene 14p/13r, Kaitlyn Morrell Laura Kuka Chelseah Savage Kaitlyn Morrell
Thunder 78 – Caitlin O’Connell 17p/12r Teghan Omelvena-Ngatai Lauren Tewhata Gemma Walsh
Lady Geysers 72 –Awatea Leach 16p, Dionne Martin 10p, Taina Paul-Tomoana 9p, Dekoda Te Autu 8p/8r, Mufaro Mapengo 8p
Phoenix 40 – Te Rina Cameron-Tana 12p, Aleesha Coulter 8p, Shakani Murray 6p, Leylanni Cameron-Tana 3p/8r
Phoenix – Aleesha Coulter 14p,Shakani Murray 11p, Teuila Faalogo 10p, Leylanni Cameron-Tana 8p
Coasters – Kaatia Watene 12p, Laura Kuka 12p, Chelseah Savage 10p/9r, Kaitlyn Morrell 8p, Wairaka Te Kira 7p
Thunder 68 – Caitlin O’Connell 12p, Raquel Sampson 11p, Gemma Walsh 10p, Vanessa Weir 9p/9r
Lady Geysers 74 –Awatea Leach 19p/12r, Dekoda Te Autu 16p/9r, Dionne Martin 12p
Sal’s NBL Finals Weekend - Sunday
2:30pm D-League Grand Final (1v2)
5:00pm 18IN18 Grand Final