China edge out NZ Tall Ferns

NZ Newswire June 14, 2012, 5:00 pm

New Zealand's Tall Ferns paid the price for a high foul count after they were beaten 75-73 by Olympics-bound China at Changzhou.

The New Zealanders led 55-51 going into the final quarter, looking to avenge a six-point loss in their tour opener last week.

But the Chinese shot 29 free throws to the Ferns' 11 to edge ahead down the stretch, with the New Zealanders at one point incurring seven consecutive fouls.

Frustrated New Zealand coach Kennedy Kereama says the home court advantage swayed the game China's way.

"In the dying moments, we had a shot to put the game into overtime," he said.

"Lisa Wallbutton had an uncontested look, but was fouled from behind on an obvious call that was missed by the baseline official."

The Tall Ferns contributed to their loss through a number of missed lay-ups and shots, Kereama said, but still managed to generate 18 more scoring opportunities from the field with an efficient defence.

"I'd love the opportunity to play China in New Zealand, where they won't have the home court advantage," he said.

Guard Micaela Cocks led her team with 27 points, while forward Jillian Harmon had 20.

The Tall Ferns continue their warm-up to the Olympic quailfying tournament in Turkey later this month with a match against Australia's Emerging Opals, a development team that beat them by eight points last week.