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Tall Ferns named to tour China and Europe

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/05/2016

Coach Kennedy Kereama is impressed with the quality at his disposal after naming a New Zealand women's basketball squad to tour China and Europe ahead of the Olympic qualifying tournament in France.

There are five Australian-based players and four in the US college system in his 14-strong squad. Four others hail from the New Zealand domestic league while France-based Cantabrian Erin Rooney is the sole European player.

Following a two-day camp in Auckland this week, the squad will contest two four-nation tournaments in China followed by three weeks of training and playing in Europe ahead of June's qualifying event in Nantes.

New Zealand must finish in the top five of the 12-nation tournament to book a Rio ticket.

Kereama said it will be difficult to trim his squad by two in early June.

"The depth in our women's programme is at an all-time high and we have a lot of players knocking on the door and forcing themselves into contention for selection," he said.

He was pleased to have secured an intense schedule with nine of their 10 international opponents during the build-up for France rated above New Zealand's world ranking of 22.

"We will be pushed during every game. We need the best competition possible and the tougher the games the better the preparation."

TALL FERNS: Micaela Cocks, Antonia Edmonson, Kalani Purcell, Erin Rooney, Lisa Wallbutton, Jessica Bygate, Chevannah Paalvast, Jordan Hunter, Deena Franklin, Krystal Leger-Walker, Brooke Blair, Katelyn Noyer, Stella Beck, Penina Davidson.

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