Gold Rush trounces Thunder

Nicole Ruske
Nicole Ruske
The Otago Gold Rush has secured a much-needed win.

It rode a big first-half performance to beat the Taranaki Thunder 90-46 in its women's basketball championship match in Opunake last night.

A combination of defensive pressure and lights-out shooting helped the Gold Rush out to a 63-24 lead at halftime.

It forced 28 turnovers from the Thunder - which was without key young bigs Isabelle Cook and Rochelle Fourie.

But it was the ability to discover its scoring touch that was key for the Gold Rush.

Nicole Ruske returned after missing the last game to lead the way with 23 points.

She was particularly deadly early and hit six three-pointers before halftime, finishing six of nine from beyond the arc.

Zoe Richards also showed her class, scoring 21 points in her first game back from college in the United States.

The Gold Rush also had handy contributions across the board and notably its bench poured in 53 points - more than the entire Taranaki team.

Taranaki had the better start, though, and jumped out to a 6-0 lead.

A Ruske three snapped the Gold Rush out of its funk, before Richards scored twice within 30 seconds of checking in.

Richards finished the quarter with 10 points, helping the Gold Rush out to a 31-9 lead.

It extended that margin to 39 by halftime and while Taranaki narrowly won the last two quarters, the game was well over.

The win was the Gold Rush's second of the season. It now travels to Hamilton to play the Waikato Wizards at 6pm tonight.

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