ABSL is proud of the Auckland Dream who managed to grab 3rd place in the newly formatted BBNZ Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) Tier 1 finals tournament which was held at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin. After having a solid regular season, the squad was reunited with sister’s Natalie Taylor (current Tall Fern) and Charmian Mellars (Former Tall Fern) who also played in the WBC Opening Tournament earlier on in the season.
After two great wins over the Canterbury Wildcats (48-43) and Tauranga City Coasters (67-55) on Day 1, the Dream were guaranteed a spot in the semi – finals with a round robin game against eventual champions Otago Gold Rush remaining in pool play in Day 2. The final round robin game against Otago was a nail-biter from start to finish and headed into overtime after regulation. Otago proved why they were the favourites going into the finals tournament as they went on to make crucial buckets in the overtime period. The close 64-68 loss to the home team meant that the Dream would face a gritty Waikato Wizards team in the semi-final, which featured the youngest Tall Fern ever and NZ women’s basketball prodigy Charlisse Leger-Walker.
In the semi-final the Auckland Dream seemed to be feeling the effects of the close game against Otago and could not get into their flow, eventually losing 46-67 and setting up a game against old foes Harbour Breeze in the 3/4thplace game. The match -up between the two teams saw the Dream comfortably winning 75-53 against their rivals from over the Harbour Bridge. After the two heart-breaking losses to Otago and Waikato it was a great way to finish the WBC season campaign on a positive note.
Congratulations to Natalie Taylor who was named in the All Star 5 along with Tall Ferns Penina Davidson, Charlisse Leger-Walker, Nicole Ruske and Otago import and tournament MVP Dana Goularte. All Star 5 selection was well-deserved by Natalie after consistent performances throughout the tournament.
A special thank you to ABSL referees Sherhon Martin, Duran Whiu, Mariah McCarthy-Wilson, Rhys Hamilton and Tayla Ammunson who made the trip down to Dunedin and officiated in both Tier 1 and 2 Finals and 3/4th place games. Great to see ABSL officials referee big games and help set the standard!
The Dream are proud of their results considering the team was only conceived a little over 6 months ago. They will definitely take learnings from this season as they build towards 2019 and continue to grow the women’s game in the Auckland region.
Photo Credit - BBNZ