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Kalani Purcell selected for Team World to compete in New York

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hot on the heels of Kalani Purcell playing a leading role in Auckland Dream’s Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) success news has emerged that the competitions MVP has been selected for Team World at the Aurora Games in August.

This unique occasion will see Team World will take on Team Americas in a star-studded game at the Times Union Centre in Albany, New York on 22 August.

Many of the world’s best women basketball players will participate in the game which is a major feature of the inaugural all-women’s sports and entertainment festival.

The Team World roster will include Laia Paula, a member of the Spanish team that won silver at the 2016 Olympic Games and another European Julie Vanloo. The Belgium international helped her team to fourth place at the 2018 FIBA World Cup.

Team World will be coached by Australian Michelle Timms, a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame who enjoyed a 14-year international career.

Purcell will be familiar with a number of her teammates as she has played with or against the four Australians named on the team - Rebecca Cole, Abby Bishop, Jenna O’Hea and Marianna Tolo.

"Jenna O’Hea was our captain at Melbourne Boomers last season and I also played with Bec Cole the season before when she was also at the Boomers. In addition I’ve met Michelle Timms a few times. We’ve never had an in-depth conversation but hopefully I can use this opportunity to learn from such a vastly experienced former player," said Purcell.

Purcell admits she still has WNBA aspirations and sees the match up against Team America as an opportunity to showcase her game.

"The Aurora Cup comes near the end of the WNBA season so hopefully there will be coaches and scouts there watching the game and getting a feel for what the players can do.

"For me it fits perfectly into my schedule as it comes after the Tall Ferns programme that concludes at the end of July and I will then have two to three weeks preparation time for the game."

Since helping the Tall Ferns to a bronze medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games it’s been sixteen months of continual success for the 24-year old.

A month later Purcell was a member of the gold medal winning team at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in China.

That was followed soon after by a visit to Taiwan where Purcell captained the NZ team that won the 2018 William Jones Cup, averaging 9.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

It was then back to Australia for a second season with Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL - the Boomers finished second in the regular season but were eliminated in the semi-finals.

Following the 2018-19 WNBL season Purcell returned to New Zealand to link up with Auckland Dream for the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC).

That campaign finished on a high note last Saturday when the power forward not only helped the Dream to a memorable Grand Final win against Harbour Breeze but she also scooped the MVP Award.

Purcell was delighted with the championship win and impressed with the standard of the WBC.

"It was a really good season. Compared with when I last played in 2014 the WBC has taken a massive step up obviously helped by so many Tall Ferns playing.

"The talent coming through is unreal and the league is definitely heading in the right direction," added Purcell.

Purcell leaves with the Tall Ferns squad this week for their tour of Japan and Taiwan where they will defend the William Jones Cup - after that she can start thinking about the Aurora Games.

Team World

Abby Bishop (Australia)

Joy Burke (Taiwan)

Rebecca Cole (Australia)

Jenna O’Hea (Australia)

Laia Palau (Spain)

Szu-Chin Peng (Taiwan)

Kalani Purcell (New Zealand)

Marianna Tolo (Australia)

Julie Vanloo (Belgium)

Coach - Michele Timms (Australia)

Team Americas

Kenisha Bell

Emma Cannon

Naomi Davenport

Megan Gustafson

Samantha Fuehring

Jamasha Starr "Meme" Jackson

Jennie Simms

Krystal Thomas

Barbara Turner

Player/Coach - Lindsay Whalen

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