Tall Ferns rue sluggish start

NZ Newswire June 26, 2012, 9:07 am

The New Zealand women's basketball team are targeting a better start after losing their opening game 70-51 to the Czech Republic at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Turkey.

The Tall Ferns began slowly and could not recover from being 14 points down at the end of the first quarter against the world's fourth-ranked side on Tuesday morning (NZT).

They matched the Czechs on the scoreboard in the final two quarters but by then the damage was done with forward Eva Viteckova leading the way with a game-high 22 points.

Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama says their shooting percentage in the first quarter was largely to blame for the loss.

"You've just got to make shots in international basketball and we weren't making shots today, especially in that first quarter, and that hurt us," he said.

Kereama says aside from the slow start they competed well, especially defensively to restrict the Czechs to 70 points.

The Tall Ferns face Argentina in a must-win match early on Wednesday morning (NZT) and Kereama believes they have the game to beat the 12th-ranked side in the world.