Tall Ferns finish sixth at Asia Cup after disappointing loss to Chinese Taipei
The Tall Ferns have finished sixth at the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup in India after a disappointing 65-45 loss to Chinese Taipei in the fifth-place playoff game.
A horror first half saw New Zealand fall 20 points behind, and although they briefly pulled the deficit back to 11 points early in the second half, they were unable to maintain any offensive momentum.
A lacklustre performance was illustrated by the shooting statistics – 15 from 64 (23 per cent) from the field including just 2 from 21 (9 per cent) threes.
Jillian Harmon and Kalani Purcell, the Tall Ferns' standout players at the tournament, both had a shooting performance to forget – an identical 1 from 9 attempts apiece.
The Tall Ferns only had four free throws from Kalani Purcell to show for their efforts in the opening quarter as they were blitzed 20-4 in the first quarter. The Kiwis' shooting stats at the end of the period made for painful reading - 0 from 14 attempts.
Micaela Cocks scored from the field in the opening minute of the second frame to reboot the stalled scoreboard.
In the pool game between these two teams earlier in the week, the Tall Ferns had to come from 17 points behind to secure the win - in this one they fell 20 points behind (30-10) after 15 minutes.
The position improved marginally in the closing stages of the first half as Toni Edmondson and Cocks scored a pair of baskets each however Chinese Taipei still led 33-19 at the interval.
Edmondson and Harmon baskets pulled the Tall Ferns to within 11 points (34-23) but defensive lapses allowed Taipei to regain control and extend their lead out to 42-25.
Josie Stockill scored from her own offensive rebound and Cocks made a corner three but Taipei were in control at three-quarter time leading 48-32.
Purcell once again took her rebounding count into double figures but her shooting woes, like that of her colleagues, continued.
Teenage guard Zara Jillings scored her first points in a Tall Ferns singlet late in the game but that was one of the few bright moments in a game that most will want to forget.
Tall Ferns head coach Kennedy Kereama thought tiredness was a factor.
"The energy was there at the start but when shots don't drop it drains you and I think fatigue really got to us today. However we will be better for the experience of playing in the Asia Cup."
The Asia Cup final, involving Australia and defending champions Japan, will be held later on Saturday.
The Tall Ferns programme will now go into recess before resuming in April at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.
The women's basketball tournament at the Games will be an eight-team event involving New Zealand, Australia, Canada, India, Mozambique, Jamaica, England and Malaysia.
AT A GLANCE
Tall Ferns 45: Cocks 10p/8r, Purcell 8p/10r, Edmondson 8, Paalvast 4, Harmon 4, Stockill 4, Bygate 3, Franklin 2, Jillings 2
Chinese Taipei 65: P Huang 10, H Bao 10, Y Lin 9