With buzz and anticipation surrounding the first match, both Papua New Guinea and New Zealand women were keen to start their Youth Pacific Games Tournament with a win.
After finishing second last year to current host nation Australia, New Zealand’s trans-Tasman rivalry made them an early contender to upset the favourites.
New Zealand started off strongly, with imposing physical presence and lightning fast reflexes allowing them to build an early lead.
Persisting with an unrelenting full-court press, the Kiwi’s continued to dominate on both the scoreboard and court.
New Zealand’s strong start and fast reflexes brought them to a half time win with the scores 40-12 to New Zealand.
In a standout performance, New Zealand centre Hanna Tusa recorded a double-double in the statistics (22 points, 13 rebound and 5 steals) to lead the scoring.
Papua New Guinea’s Renagi Fred was a strong stand. With the team looking relatively young and inexperienced up against New Zealand she stood out and made an impact.
Renagi Fred was the highest scorer for the PNG and took the most rebounds (with 7 points and 9 rebounds).
At the end of the third quarter, New Zealand was on 84 to Papua New Guinea’s 17.
Marrina Boino was another one of the players from Papua New Guinea who had a good game. She was highest scorer in the first half but overall by the end was the second highest scorer (2 in the first half, 7 in the second half).
Although looking young Marrina Boino proved to be a strong player for Papua New Guinea.
Boino managed to block the largest New Zealand players at least a head taller than her showing commitment and tenacity.
Kendall Hastie from New Zealand scored two three-pointers during the second half of the game, giving the NZ score a boost.
Papua New Guinea’s determination and strength was visible throughout the whole game but just wasn’t enough to overcome New Zealand’s experienced players.
The match ended with New Zealand winning on 104 and Papua New Guinea trailing behind on 21. New Zealand winning by 83 points.
By Amy Sanderson and Victoria Heard from The Reporters' Academy