28 Aug 2009

Cold last quarter kills off Ferns' hopes against Japan

7:45 am on 28 August 2009

The New Zealand women's basketball team has lost to Japan, going down 80-71 in Napier.

Only a fourth-quarter scoring famine kept the Tall Ferns from an unexpected win.

They led Japan 58-57 entering the fourth quarter but quickly fell behind as Japan went on a 13-2 spurt to lead 70-60 with six minutes remaining.

Japan, building for next month's FIBA Asia Championship for women in India, led by as many as 14 points before New Zealand closed with seven of the game's last nine points.

Guard Toni Edmondson and forward Lisa Wallbutton both produced double-doubles for the Tall Ferns, Edmondson with a team-high 25 points and 10 rebounds and Wallbutton 24 points and a powerful 18 boards.

The Tall Ferns have been together since Sunday under first-year head coach Shawn Dennis and included eight debutants this week.