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The Tall Ferns women’s national basketball team have been drawn with China, Chinese Taipei and North Korea in Group A for the Fiba Asia Women’s Cup in Bangalore from July 23-29.
Kennedy Kereama’s squad will be making New Zealand’s first appearance in the Asian women’s championship, a qualifying tournament for the 2018 Fiba Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.
The Tall Ferns, who dropped from 21st to tied for 38th last year in the Fiba rankings, will play three games in group play of the eight-team Division I tournament, before all teams move onto the quarterfinals.
A last-eight victory and a place in the semifinals would be enough to qualify for the World Cup as the Asia/Oceania region has four berths.
The Tall Ferns will be the sixth-highest ranked nation going into the tournament, with their group opponents, China ranked 10th, Chinese Taipeii 34th and North Korea 64th.
New Zealand have competed in just one women’s world championship – in 1994, courtesy of Australia hosting the tournament and opening up Oceania’s lone berth. The Tall Ferns played at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Their world ranking dropped 16 places due to their 10th-place finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympics dropping from the calculations.
The Tall Blacks men’s national team will also compete for the first time in the Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon from August 10-20.