11 Jun 2012

Tall Ferns topple London-bound Angola

10:28 am on 11 June 2012

The New Zealand women's basketball team has given their Olympic campaign some credibility with a 68-58 victory over the African champions Angola at Suzhou, China.

Trailing by 12 points at halftime, the Tall Ferns seized momentum after the restart, outscoring their rivals 22-7 in the third quarter and 42-20 over the second half.

The Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama had challenged his players after their previous performance - a limp 64-72 loss to Australia's Emerging Opals 24 hours earlier - and got the response he was hoping for.

Angola have already qualified for the London Olympics and victory over them gives the New Zealand campaign some impetus.

Natalie Taylor led her team with 19 points and Micaela Cocks had 13.

Jordan Hunter and Erin Rooney made their presence felt at the defensive end, where they took charges, rebounded and won important possessions.

The result was the Ferns' first win of their China tour after losses to the young Aussies and the host team.

All four teams will now travel to Changzhou for another round of games and the Kiwis have two more outings against China "B", before heading to Turkey for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament later this month.

There, they face 11 other teams from around the world, vying for the final five spots in the London draw.