New Zealand’s hopes of a World Cup berth have been dashed with a quarter-final loss to South Korea last night at the Asia Cup.
Needing a victory to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Spain, the Tall Ferns, captained by the JCU Townsville Fire’s Micaela Cocks, will rue a disastrous second term where they let the game slip from their grasp.
A 6-26 quarter saw the Tall Ferns going into the main change trailing by 14, and while they narrowed the gap to two in the final term, they were unable to re-claim the lead as South Korea snatched the momentum to secure a 64-59 victory.
They will now meet Australia, who fared better after crushing North Korea 81-48 in their own quarter-final.
Needing to reduce the half-time deficit, Cocks came out blazing as she nailed back-to-back baskets from long-range before showing off her mid-range jump shot to spark a 10-0 run.
Hopes of a miraculous comeback were snuffed out down the stretch, however, as South Korea advanced to the final four.
Cocks finished with 11 points and six rebounds, while Fire championship winner Jill Harmon top-scored for the Tall Ferns with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The consolation prize for the Tall Ferns is next year’s Commonwealth Games, with the team confirmed to contend for a medal with preliminary rounds in Townsville and Cairns.
Click here to see box scores from New Zealand’s Asia Cup quarter-final with South Korea.
Image courtesy of FIBA.