Teenager Charlisse Leger-Walker showed she is a player for the big occasion when she helped the New Zealand women’s basketball team to their 74-58 bronze medal win over Canada today.
Leger-Walker, only 16, scored 18 points, including an impressive four three-pointers from seven attempts.
The game capped off a fine tournament for the Waikato youngster, who adapted very comfortably to the higher standard of basketball. She is the youngest ever New Zealand women’s basketballer and is the daughter of one of the country’s basketball greats, Leanne Walker.
As she was throughout the tournament, Michaela Cocks was pivotal for New Zealand. Against Canada, she scored 16 points and provided six rebounds, as well as directing play expertly.
There were other good contributions from Kalani Purcell, with seven rebounds, and Antonia Edmondson and Natalie Taylor, with five each.
New Zealand led 34-26 at halftime and really sealed the match in the third quarter, which they won 28-13.
Later Leger-Walker said it was an especially good feeling to beat Canada after coming back from the big semi-final loss the previous day to Australia.
“It's not often you get the opportunity to come to a Commonwealth Games tournament, so it's a massive honour,” she said.
Edmondson said it was important to finish the tournament well with a win in the bronze medal match.
“It would have been such a disappointing way to finish the tournament yesterday [against Australia], so to come out and play how we did and to our style and our team values was just so great today.
“We just stuck with our plan, and we put pressure on them. We knew that shots weren't dropping in the first half, but we trusted that they would at some time.”
Edmondson said it was a special feeling winning a medal.“This is amazing. I've been playing for New Zealand for a lot of years now, and this is really special. I haven't really played in any big events, so this is pretty awesome.”Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Charlisse Leger-Walker Micaela Cocks Toni Farnworth Kalani Purcell Natalie Taylor Basketball