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Tall Ferns edge Montenegro

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/05/2016

Forwards Penina Davidson and Kalani Purcell stood strong for the Tall Ferns as they edged Montenegro 79-76 at a Four Nations women's basketball tournament in China.

The New Zealanders, who had earlier in the week suffered a 10-point loss to Montenegro, trailed throughout much of the match.

Behind 39-31 at half-time and still in arrears 54-50 with 10 minutes remaining, the Tall Ferns stormed home with a 29-22 closing quarter.

Davidson led the New Zealand scoring effort with 17 points, also snaring eight rebounds, while Purcell featured with a double double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, as well as dishing up five assists.

Guards Micaela Cocks (16 points) and Toni Edmondson (11) were also prominent in a fine team effort that pleased coach Kennedy Kereama.

"Tonight was a game of runs and we made a number of them," he said.

"We were defensively good and smart enough to go at the right players in the final quarter, and our penetration in the half court and fast-break basketball was as good as it has ever been."

Kereama said he still had concerns with New Zealand's turnover rate, but was pleased his players had shown improvement in that area from their last outing, a 90-52 loss to hosts China.

"We had a spread of contributors at both ends of the court and have built a solid platform for our game against the Czech Republic."

The Tall Ferns, who are preparing for the Olympic qualifying tournament in France next month, last week stunned the fifth-ranked Czechs 72-64 in Henyang.

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