The inaugural NBL D-League is ready for action with seven games set to be played alongside the Sal’s NBL 18IN18 playoffs at Pulman Arena this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The NBL's D-League is in its preliminary building stages and is viewed as the ideal 'stepping stone' through to the National League, both for players and teams.
The four competing teams at this week's event are Northland Phoenix, Rotorua Lady Geysers, Taranaki Thunder and Tauranga City Coasters.
The four teams will play each other in a round-robin series over Friday and Saturday with the top two teams competing in the D-League Final on Sunday as a curtain raiser to the 18IN18 Grand Final.
Tauranga City Coasters will berth in Auckland with a blend of youth and experience, with Chelseah Savage, one of the premier point guards in New Zealand, guiding the team.
Amongst the crop of young players looking to shine will be Taniko Gardiner, Wairaka Te Kira and Vitolia Tuilave. Earlier in the year Tuilave was named to the New Zealand team to attend the FIBA U16 Asia Championships.
Named to the 2020 New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns was Rotorua Lady Geysers guard Waiata Jennings. Along with Awatea Leach, who played at Collin College in Texas last year, the pair will provide some scoring power for the Geysers.
The Geysers will be boosted by the addition of former Waikato Country Cannons players Veshae Porima and Tyler August.
Zoe Kensington will make a welcome return to competitive basketball. The former Tall Fern will join sister Jenna and Junior Tall Fern Caitlin O’Connell in a handy looking Thunder backcourt.
Providing valuable inside presence will be forward Raquel Sampson who averaged 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Thunder in 2019. In her final year at Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Sampson will head to Auburn University, Montgomery next year.
Selected for the New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns team earlier in the year Sampson has committed to Auburn University, Montgomery from 2020-21.
16-year old Teghan Ngatai had the hot hands at the 3x3 Schick Cup and Thunder Coach Josh Reeves will be hoping her good form continues this week.
Northland Phoenix will travel south with some tried and trusted performers.
Jeannie Cameron, Roana Paterson and Leylannie Cameron-Tana have all appeared regularly for the Phoenix in recent seasons.
2019 Capital Swish guard Aleesha Coulter is a welcome addition to the Phoenix.
The Lady Geysers will take on Tauranga City Coasters in the D League opener on Friday (Tip-off 3.00pm). The Phoenix versus Thunder clash will follow at 5.00pm.
2020 D-LEAGUE Schedule
# All games will be played at Pulman Arena, south Auckland.
# All preliminary games are free entry.
# Grand Final entry is $10 Adults and U18s Free | entry includes the 18IN18 Grand Final as well.
# The Grand Final will be broadcast live on Sky Sport Select (Ch50)
FRIDAY DEC 4
3pm – Tauranga vs Rotorua
5pm – Northland vs Taranaki
SATURDAY DEC 5
8am – Taranaki vs Tauranga
10am – Rotorua vs Northland
3pm – Northland vs Tauranga
5pm – Taranaki vs Rotorua
SUNDAY DEC 6
2:30pm – Grand Final (teams to be decided)