Matthews makes history in India
Kaiapoi basketballer Helen Matthews and the New Zealand women’s U17 team have made history in Bangalore by becoming the first junior women’s national side to qualify for a basketball World Cup.
New Zealand went down 60-43 to China in the bronze medal game on Saturday (NZT) to finish fourth at its first
Asian Championship appearance, achieving their objective of qualifying for the U17 World Cup in Belarus next July. New Zealand coach, North Canterbury’s Lori McDaniel, praised her team’s effort.
‘‘We now have the exciting prospect of preparing for the World Cup next year. This team have worked hard, made history and should be really, really proud of themselves.’’
Matthews, the lone South Island player in the squad, played in all six matches. In the group phase, New Zealand lost to eventual champions Australia 43-61 but beat Korea 74-44 and Chinese Taipei 71-66.
That had them meet Thailand in the allimportant quarter-final, and an 80-52 win had New Zealand claim one of the four qualifying spots for the World Cup.
Japan then outclassed the Kiwi’s 97-65 in the semi-finals before the loss to China.