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Tall Ferns take silver at FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup

Ella Fotu 3x3 Tall Ferns basketball
Ella Fotu was lethal from the outside for the 3x3 Tall Ferns. PHOTO: FIBA

The 3x3 Tall Ferns have earned silver medals – their second in two years – at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Singapore.

The New Zealand team of Sharne Pupuke-Robati, Ella Fotu, Esra McGoldrick and Lauryn Hippolite fell 18-13 to the defending champion Australia Gangurrus again in the women's final on Sunday.

Pupuke-Robati, who averaged 5.2 points and 4.4 rebounds, again earned All-Tournament team honours for her efforts, after scoring 26 points in five games.

New Zealand's only losses came against Australia, also losing 22-9 in their Pool D game on Saturday. Ella Fotu had nine points and Pupuke-Robati eight points in a 17-10 win over India to advance to the knockout phase.

The Tall Ferns advanced to the final after thrilling one-point wins over Japan in the quarterfinals and Chinese Taipei in the semifinals.

Pupuke-Robati and Fotu each had five points in the 15-14 win over Japan, with Fotu sealing the win with a two-pointer in the final minute after New Zealand went on a 9-2 run in the middle stage. Fotu put up six points, six boards and four assists in a 16-15 victory over Chinese Taipei as the Tall Ferns scored four late points.

Nikau McCullough 3x3 Tall Blacks basketball
Nikau McCullough produced a triple-five in the 3x3 Tall Blacks pool win over Qatar. PHOTO: FIBA

The 3x3 Tall Blacks could not match the Tall Ferns medal-winning ways, falling to Iran in the semifinals and Mongolia in the playoff for third.

The team of Tai Wynyard, Nikau McCullough, Dom Kelman-Poto and Chris McIntosh needed overtime to defeat Malaysia 21-19 before routing Qatar 22-3 in Pool D games on Friday, with McIntosh scoring a game-high nine points.

Wynyard had a spectacular 10-point, 16-rebound double-double in New Zealand's 21-17 win over Thailand in the quarterfinals, before losing to Iran 21-11 and Mongolia 21-18. Wynyard went 8-for-8 for his eight points against Mongolia.

Despite finishing in the top-10 in total points, points average, shooting percentage, total rebounds and rebounds average, Wynyard missed out on All-Tournament selection.

Next up for the 3x3 Tall Blacks is the FIBA Universality Olympic Qualifying Tournament 1 in Hong Kong from April 12-14. New Zealand will face Egypt, Latvia and Mongolia in Pool B, needing to win the eight-team tournament to qualify for Paris 2024.


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