3 Jun 2016

Tall Ferns beaten in Belarus

9:57 am on 3 June 2016

The New Zealand women's basketball team has been beaten 78-74 by Belarus in Minsk in their latest warmup game ahead of the final Olympic qualifying tournament.

Tall Fern Jillian Harmon

Tall Fern Jillian Harmon Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Jillian Harmon scored a double-double for the Tall Ferns witha a game high 32 points and 15 rebounds.

The Italian based power forward also dished out four assists and snared a pair of steals.

The Ferns rested small forward Kalani Purcell and started Chevannah Paalvast in her place.

10th ranked Belarus, like the Tall Ferns, are heading to Nantes for the Olympic Qualifiers later this month.

Micaela Cocks (10pts), Toni Edmondson (6pts), Josie Stockill (6pts) and Paalvast (8pts) all gave Harmon scoring support.

"It was truly a game of runs and we made some and so did they. We had some tremendous patches of play and played some of our best team basketball. We were running the floor well in transition which is great because we challenged the team on that," said Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama.

"The coaching team used this game to test a number of our bench players to see who will round out our team for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament," he added.

Despite the loss there was plenty to like about the Tall Ferns performance. A top ten team in the world was pushed all the way (NZ ranked 22nd).

The Tall Ferns next game in the four-team tournament is against Turkey tonight.