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NZL - New-look Tall Ferns
AUCKLAND (FIBA Oceania Championship for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - New Zealand will have seven players make their senior team bow at the FIBA Oceania Championship for Women.
The Tall Ferns, who face Australia's Opals in Auckland on 14 August and then in Canberra, Australia, four days later, are huge underdogs going into the series with the No. 2 team in the FIBA Ranking Women.
Kate Fielding, a 27-year-old shooting guard who plays for the West Coast Waves in the Australian WNBL with New Zealand veteran Lisa Wallbutton and Antonia Edmondson, has a spot.
Tall Ferns boss Kennedy Kereama knows exactly what the team is getting in Fielding because he is the coach of the Waves.
Megan Craig is also in the squad.
A 2.03m center that the Tall Ferns program is extremely excited about, Craig just spent a couple of seasons in American college basketball playing for Albany.
Others making debuts have played in New Zealand's domestic league.
They are Samara Gallaher of Otago, Kalani Purcell of Waikato, Waitakere's Penina Davidson, Hutt Valley's Stella Beck and Jess Bygate of Nelson.
Purcell is following in the footsteps of her sisters, Charmian Purcell and Natalie Taylor, who played for the Tall Ferns at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Taylor is the Tall Ferns captain but is unable to play this month because of a knee injury.
New Zealand dropped six places to No. 22 in the latest FIBA Ranking Women that was announced after the London Olympics.
New Zealand Tall Ferns squad for FIBA Oceania Championship for Women: Stella Beck (Hutt Valley-Porirua Flyers), Jess Bygate (Dickinson State University), Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire), Megan Craig (University at Albany), Penina Davidson (Auckland Lady Hawks), Antonia Edmondson (West Coast Waves), Kate Fielding (West Coast Waves), Samara Gallaher (Otago Goldrush), Jordan Hunter (Southeast Missouri University/Auckland Lady Hawks), Casey Lockwood (Townsville Fire), Kalani Purcell (Waikato Wizards), Lisa Wallbutton (West Coast Waves).
Nearly 40% of parents of girls report their daughters being inspired to take up a sport after watching professionals in action.