Canterbury Wildcats go unbeaten to top women's NBL after opening tournament

Wildcats player Esra McGoldrick in Auckland for the opening round of the Women's Basketball League.
Sylvia Wilkins

Wildcats player Esra McGoldrick in Auckland for the opening round of the Women's Basketball League.

The Canterbury Wildcats have gone through the opening tournament of the Women's Basketball Championship (WBC) in Auckland unscathed, winning six from six to top the standings. 

The WBC defending champions were able to round out the tournament with a hefty win over Te Tai Tokerau, 85-24, leaving them as heavy favourites moving forward. 

Wildcats coach Lori McDaniel was satisfied with her team's performance through the three-day tournament, but realises there is a long way to go in the competition. 

"We know there are tougher challenges facing us later in the competition. A number of the teams will have stronger additional personnel later in the season and we have plenty to work on before facing them."

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The Wildcats had a number of strong performers throughout the tournament, including veteran forward Connie Poletti, US import Ashley Gayle and age group internationals Lauryn Hippolite, Aimee Book and Esra McGoldrick.

Also on day three, the Wildcats thrashed the Tauranga City Coasters 85-49 in their last game of the tournament. Hayley Gray, Darcy Rose, and Poletti all chipped in, scoring 11, 10 and 10 points respectively.

The Wildcats looked miles apart from nearest rivals the Waikato Wizards, Otago Goldrush and newcomers Waikato Country Cannons.

The competition will now continue with regular home and away fixtures, before gathering in Christchurch for the play-offs starting July 6.

In a curtain raiser to the National Basketball League game between the Canterbury Rams and Southland Sharks at Cowles Stadium next Sunday, the Wildcats will play the Capital Swish. 

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 - Stuff

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