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Tall Ferns fall short against Montenegro

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/05/2016

New Zealand have produced a vastly improved performance in losing 71-61 to Montenegro at a four-nation women's basketball tournament in China.

A day after succumbing 84-24 to world No.8 China in their opening game at Hengyang, the 22nd-ranked Tall Ferns were competitive against world No.29 Montenegro.

They trailed 26-23 and kept the margin close until late in the game, boosted by 16 points to Toni Edmondson and 14 to Kalani Purcell, who also snared nine rebounds.

Coach Kennedy Kereama was relieved with the improvement shown following their first-up mauling, which was their first game for 10 months.

"I challenged the team to improve in a number of areas and today they responded," he said.

"We are still a little out of sync in a few areas but time will fix these. I think the next time we play Montenegro we can beat them."

New Zealand were to face fifth-ranked Czech Republic on Monday.

They are in the early stages of preparation for the Olympic qualifying tournament in France in June.

Their schedule comprises two tournaments in China followed by three weeks of training and playing in Europe.

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