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Tall Ferns suffer downed by Latvia

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/05/2016

New Zealand have melted over the closing stages to lose 72-52 to hosts Latvia who squared their international series 1-1.

After winning the first game in Riga 70-64 in overtime, the Tall Ferns were outclassed in most departments by the 17th-ranked Latvians, who won the final quarter 26-11.

The scores were locked 26-26 at halftime and world No.22 New Zealand only trailed 46-41 entering the final stanza before their defence fell apart.

Jillian Harmon followed her 22 points haul from the first game with 11 points and eight rebounds while Kalani Purcell netted 14 points, and Micaela Cocks and Toni Edmondson 12 each.

Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama lamented a lack of impact from his bench, which contributed a combined one point.

"I believe we have it in us and we just need to find a few more players that can give us some scoring punch off the bench and maintain our effort levels and execution," he said.

"We have the tools and we will find who those players are in the next leg of the tour."

The Tall Ferns head to Minsk to play a tournament involving Belarus, Japan and Turkey as they continue to prepare for the Olympic qualifying tournament in France in mid-June.

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