The Sal’s NBL D-League hit the halfway point this evening as the final hooter sounded in the last fixture between Capital and Rotorua.
Both teams struggled to get anything going on offence early and the scoreboard (11-10) at the time reflected it. In fact, it wasn’t until right after halftime that one of them got into a groove, which was Rotorua who ended up on top, 75-68.
It all appeared to click when Waiata Jennings converted on consecutive possessions, the baskets lifting them and the game out of a scoring funk. The guard finished with 11 in the spell and was equally as impactful in the passing lanes.
Capital was on the receiving end for the majority of the third, although you wouldn’t have known that by the way they went about their work down the stretch.
When Rebecca Van Kuyk scored with just under two minutes to go, the deficit was only six. Unfortunately, they failed to get the necessary stops after that score and dropped to a 0-2 record.
The Harbour Cyclones made it two wins from two bouts after edging out Northland 66-63 this morning. The Phoenix had the chance to tie things up with as the clock wound down, but Te Rina Cameron’s (17pts & 4rbs) attempt didn’t find the twine.
Cameron-Tana produced another double-digit scoring performance and this time around she was aided by three teammates who posted similar stat lines – Kiama Tahere (18pts) and Aleesha Coulter (10pts & 5rbs).
For the Cyclones, Izzy Pugh (19pts & 15rbs) notched another double-double and had a crucial trip to the foul line in the final minute. Rikki Burgess-Fiatau (15pts & 10rbs) also collected 10-plus points and rebounds, while Aroha Rogers (10pts & 9rbs) fell a rebound shy of the same collection.
Tauranga had the biggest victory of the competition so far, 75-52, in their matchup with the Harbour Zephyr. The Coasters shot out to a 20-7 lead in the opening spell, restricting their opposition to just the one basket in the first seven minutes.
Things did get better for the Zephyr in the following period though as they only conceded 15 points and tacked on the same amount. The improvement continued as the game went on, but wasn’t enough to make a decent dent.
Hineaupounamu Nuku (22pts & 13rbs) and Kaatia Watene (13pts & 8rbs) were at the forefront of the Tauranga’s big third quarter, which afforded their non-starting teammates some extra minutes.
The third was a notable passage from the clash between Auckland and the Platinum Homes Taranaki Thunder. The latter outscored the locals 26-17 after trailing by seven at the big break.
Teghan Omelvana-Ngatai picked up where she left off yesterday with 11 first-half points and was responsible for arguably the play of the game when she connected from deep and was fouled in the act - the bucket broke a third-quarter deadlock.
However, the momentum swing didn’t carry over to the last stage of the game as Auckland went on a 12-2 run. Sommer Motufoua contributed five to that total and had a hand in everything her side threw at the visitors as they went on to win 81-68.
Tomorrow (day three) will see the last of the round-robin games played at the same tip-off times as today before the finals bring the competition to an end on Sunday (day four).
Saturday August 14
9am: Taranaki vs Harbour Cyclones (P1)
11am: Harbour Zephyr vs Capital (P2)
1pm: Northland vs Auckland (P1)
3pm: Rotorua vs Tauranga (P2)
Sunday August 15
9am: D League – Playoff for 7th/8th
11am: D League – Playoff for 5th/6th
1pm: D League – Playoff for 3rd/4th
3pm: D League – Championship Game