9 Jun 2016

Tall Ferns upset Spain

9:32 am on 9 June 2016

The New Zealand women's basketball team has beaten world number three Spain 54-52 in Gijon in their latest game in Europe.

Tall Fern Jillian Harmon

Tall Fern Jillian Harmon Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Tall Ferns are preparing for the final Olympic qualifying tournament in France later this month.

Spain scored the first five points of the game but the New Zealanders then went on a 10-0 run and led 15-9 at quarter time.

They led by five at half time and 11 at three quarter time.

Spain surged back in the final quarter but a brace of triples from Micaela Cocks and Toni Edmondson kept the Ferns in front and although Edmondson fouled out the Tall Ferns held on to take a notable scalp ahead of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France next week.

The two teams meet again tomorrow, the last game for each team ahead of the tournament.

Naturally Tall Ferns head coach Kennedy Kereama was very satisfied with the performance of his team.

"I am really proud of our efforts today to beat third ranked Spain. It was a true defensive job and all players were locked in and focused for fourty minutes.

" These moments are pretty special but it only lasts a short time because we have to back up and play them again tomorrow. We need to show that this was no fluke and we can also improve on this game. We need to grind teams down with our defence and keep teams to low scores if we want to compete with the best.

"All the players were great today and its hard to single anyone out, it was a true team effort."

Jillian Harmon led the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

At the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Nantes, New Zealand play hosts France and Cuba in pool play with the top two qualifying for the quarter-finals.

The top five teams from the 12 team tournament qualify for the Olympics.

New Zealand is ranked 22 in the world, while France are four and Cuba 13.