Otago Daily Times

Tall Ferns duo in Gold Rush squad for 3x3 tour­na­ment

- JEFF CHESHIRE

THE Otago Gold Rush will be able to draw on in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence in Invercargi­ll next month.

Two Tall Ferns have been in­cluded in the four­player squad to play at the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League’s 3x3 tour­na­ment.

Zoe Richards head­lines a team that also in­cludes for­mer in­ter­na­tional for­ward Lisa Wall­but­ton.

Tara Cle­ment and Aleisha Ruske make up the guard lineup.

Richards (23) gives the team a gen­uine star and cur­rent Tall Fern.

The Dunedin women’s club league’s most valu­able player, the for­ward is com­ing off a dom­i­nant win­ter in which she posted 24.0 points per game.

Her abil­ity to both score in­side, as well as shoot from deep will be key in the 3x3 for­mat.

Wall­but­ton brings plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing played for the Tall Ferns from 2005 to 2016.

That in­cluded win­ning a sil­ver medal at the 2006 Com­mon­wealth Games, as well as play­ing at the Bei­jing 2008 Olympics.

The 34­year­old, in her first year in Dunedin, brings a classy pres­ence in­side.

Ruske and Cle­ment both bring plenty of na­tional league ex­pe­ri­ence to the guard lineup.

Ruske (23) has played for the Gold Rush since 2013 and pro­vides an ex­cep­tional perime­ter de­fender, while also boast­ing a handy of­fen­sive skill set.

Cle­ment makes her first ap­pear­ance for the Gold Rush, hav­ing played three sea­sons with the Taranaki Thun­der — although has lived in Dunedin.

The team’s sched­ule for the women’s NBL, set to be­gin the week af­ter 3x3, has also been re­leased.

It will play dou­ble­head­ers on each of Novem­ber 23­24 and Novem­ber 28­29, as well as a sin­gle game on De­cem­ber 3.

All five games will tip­off at 7.30pm.

Semi­fi­nals fol­low on De­cem­ber 4­5, with the fi­nal set for 5pm on De­cem­ber 6.

Six teams will con­test the league, all play­ing each other once be­fore the play­offs and a game sched­uled ev­ery day for 18 days.

All games will be played at one venue, which is ex­pected to be con­firmed this week.

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