Gold Rush bows to Swish in plate final

The consolation prize has eluded the Otago Gold Rush.

It was beaten 71-63 by the Capital Swish in Saturday's women's basketball championship plate final in Auckland.

The division two champion Swish held a slender lead for most of the second half and closed the game out well.

It got strong production out of four of its starters, captain Letava Whippy leading the way with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

However, it was the Gold Rush that had the better start, shooting out to a 19-14 lead at quarter-time.

The Swish took the lead back in the second quarter, but Natalie Visger (17 points) hit two late shots to give Otago a 31-30 halftime lead.

Morgan Ili hit a three-pointer to score first in the third, giving Capital back the lead.

It kept the advantage although Visger and Nicole Ruske (13 points) kept the score ticking over to ensured the Gold Rush remained in touch.

A Bronwyn Kjestrup three-pointer gave Otago the lead back at 52-51 early in the fourth, but a 9-0 run allowed the Swish to open a gap the Gold Rush was unable to close.

The Auckland Dream won the championship final 89-86 in an overtime thriller over the Harbour Breeze.

Harbour led by 13 early in the fourth quarter, but the Dream clawed its way back.

Two Natalie Taylor free throws with 15 seconds left tied the score, before the Dream edged out to an 87-80 lead in overtime.

Harbour got the margin back to one, but Jordan Hunter iced the game at the line for Auckland.

Kalani Purcell had 24 points and 11 rebounds on the way to being named WBC most valuable player.

 - The Junior Tall Blacks had a win and a loss at the under-19 men's world championships in Greece.

They lost to Argentina 84-79 in the bottom-eight quarterfinal, but beat Senegal 87-71 in its bottom four semifinal.

Mali will play the United States in the final.

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