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Veteran Tall Fern Wallbutton to retire

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/05/2017

Lisa Wallbutton #10 of New Zealand (in the white jersey). © Getty Images Lisa Wallbutton #10 of New Zealand (in the white jersey). Twelve years after making her Tall Ferns basketball debut, Lisa Wallbutton has retired.

Wallbutton, 31, won Commonwealth Games silver at the 2006 Melbourne Games when New Zealand was beaten by Australia.

She also represented New Zealand at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which she described as a career highlight.

"For me that was a childhood dream come true and an opportunity to compete at the highest level against the very best players in the world at the time."

Wallbutton, still a prominent player in the Western Australian State League with the Perth Redbacks, says it's an exciting time for New Zealand women's basketball.

"There is such a talented bunch of girls coming through so I will be watching closely from the sidelines and cheering the girls on."

Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama is full of admiration for the commitment Wallbutton has given to the international programme.

"Lisa had great work ethic, was the ultimate team player, and was always prepared to stand up for teammates on court," he said.

"For an undersized forward, she had the ability to gather rebounds and defend players much bigger than herself."

Kereama will be overseeing a selection camp in Auckland next week before picking his team for a tour of China and Singapore.

The Tall Ferns will then compete at their first Women's Asia Cup in Bangalore in July.

The top four teams from the tournament will qualify for next year's women's World Cup.

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