Reigning winners of the women’s FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup Australia commence their campaign at the 2022 edition held in Singapore with two Pool C games on Saturday 9 July. Australia has a new look team comprised of Anneli Maley, Lauren Mansfield, Lauren Scherf and Marena Whittle who all played in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) during the 2021/22 season and have all played in an NBL1 conference during the 2022 season.
In the article below player profiles are included for all four members of the Australian women’s team for the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, but first of all some information is provided on the tournament in general, the Australian team, their Pool C opponents and the history of the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.
2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup
Seven nations automatically qualified for the women’s main draw at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, hosts Singapore, defending champions from the 2019 edition of the FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup Australia “and the 5 best-ranked teams in the FIBA 3×3 Federation Ranking on the November 1, 2021 cut-off date (Mongolia, China, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka).”1
The remaining five spots in the main draw were determined during qualifying games on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 July. Five groups of three or four nations each competed in the qualifying games with only the winners of each qualifying draw advancing to the main draw. The winners of the qualifying draws were:
Qualifying Draw A Uzbekistan
Qualifying Draw B Thailand
Qualifying Draw C Indonesia
Qualifying Draw D New Zealand
Qualifying Draw E Turkmenistan
The 12 nations in the main draw are comprised of four pools of three teams each. Each nation plays the other two nations in their pool and the top two nations from each of the four pools progress to the quarter finals which will be held on Sunday 10 July. The Pool games commenced on Friday July 8 and will conclude on Saturday July 9. The nations that played on Friday July 8 and qualified for the quarter finals were Japan and Indonesia (Pool B) along with Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka (Pool D). The cross-over quarter final games between the nations advancing from Pool B and Pool D are Japan vs Sri Lanka and Chinese Taipei vs Indonesia. The nations playing today, Saturday July 9 are Pool A – Mongolia, Thailand and Uzbekistan along with Pool C – China, New Zealand and Australia. The quarter final winners progress to the semi finals and the medal games which are all played on Sunday 10 July.
Australian women’s 3×3 team for the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup
Coach, Damon Lowery
Whilst this is the first tournament that the Australian women’s 3×3 team has been comprised of Maley, Mansfield, Scherf and Whittle, three members of this quartet have had success together on the 3×3 domestic circuit, with Maley, Whittle and Scherf being members of the Melbourne Towers team that won the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle 7 tournament held in Melbourne in early March 2021. Mansfield and Scherf were WNBL teammates at the Sydney Uni Flames in 2020.
Australia have a completely different line-up to the team that finished sixth out of 20 teams at the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifier Tournament held in Graz, Austria in May 2021. The Australian team at this tournament was Bec Cole, Keely Froling, Maddie Garrick and Alice Kunek. All four members of this quartet has been part of a member of at least one medal winning Australian team at an FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup. Cole and Garrick are the only two Australian women to have been multiple medals at the tournament, having both won gold in 2019 and bronze in 2018.
Whilst Australia’s FIBA 2022 has less experience representing Australia in 3×3 basketball they have all been part of Australia’s 3×3 training squad and all four members of the team have experience representing Australia in 3×3 and/or five on five basketball. Maley was a member of the Australian team that won the gold medal at the 2015 FIBA 3×3 Oceania Championships held on the Gold Coast and made her Australian Opals debut against Japan in May 2022. Whittle was a member of the Australian 3×3 team that finished first at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Cup Qualifier held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mansfield and Scherf are both making their debut for the Australian 3×3 team at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup but have represented the Australian Opals at international tournaments in the traditional five on five format of basketball.
Australian women’s 3×3 coach Damon Lowery told Australia.basketball “I couldn’t be more excited to coach this team. Even though they’ve all represented Australia previously, two of them make their international 3×3 debut. Besides the obvious talent they bring, they display basketball values that the entire country can be proud of. We look forward to defending our title and having a shot at qualifying for the 2023 3×3 World Cup.”2
More details on the four members of the Australian women’s 3×3 team are provided in the Player Profiles section at the bottom of this article, with details provided on the basketball careers of the Australian quartet in the traditional five on five format of the sport as well as the newer 3×3 format.
Pool C teams and schedule at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup
Automatic qualifiers Australian and China were joined in Pool C by New Zealand who finished on top of qualifying draw B. New Zealand won both of their qualifying matches on Thursday 7 July, defeating Palestine 21-5 in game 1 followed by a 17-9 victory against India in game 2.
Although Australia are the defending 3×3 Asia Cup Champions they have a lower seeding than both their Pool C opponents. China are seeded 4th, New Zealand are the 8th seeds and Australia are seeded 15th. At the 2018 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup the three teams from Pool C of this week’s tournament clean swept the medals with New Zealand winning gold, China taking home silver and Australia securing the bronze medal, more detail on this tournament is provided later in this article. In the three editions of the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup from 2017 to 2019 Australia’s overall record was 17 wins and one solitary loss to New Zealand in the 2018 semi final. During this time Australia won a medal at all three tournaments, winning two gold medals (2017 and 2019), and the bronze medal in 2018.
China and New Zealand both competed at the FIBA 2022 3×3 World Cup held last month in Antwerp, Belgium from June 21-26. China won bronze medals at both the 2020 FIBA 3×3 Olympic Games and the FIBA 2022 3×3 World Cup. Two members of these Chinese bronze medal winning teams are representing China at the 2022 Asia Cup – Lili Wang and Zhitang Zhang, joining them in the Chinese team are Kun Huang and Xinyu Liu.
New Zealand had one victory from four games in Pool B at the FIBA 2022 3×3 World Cup and were knocked out of the tournament at that stage. Two members of New Zealand’s team from the World Cup are representing their country at this tournament – Jillian Harmon and Gabriella Fotou. The Kiwis have made two changes to the team with Mary Goulding and Tayla Dalton being brought in for the Asia Cup, replacing World Cup representatives, Tiarna Clarke and Kalani Purcell.
Two members of the New Zealand quartet for the 2022 3×3 Asia Cup have experience playing in the WNBL in Australia. Harmon was a member of the Townsville Fire team that won the 2014/15 WNBL Championship. Goulding has played the past two seasons in 2020 and 2021/22 with the Bendigo Spirit in the WNBL. At the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup Goulding and Bendigo Spirit teammate Maley will be on opposing teams when New Zealand play against Australia in their Pool C game later today.
Women’s Pool C schedule, all games to be held on Saturday 9 July
China vs New Zealand 4.25 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time
Australia vs New Zealand 6.25 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time
China vs Australia 10.35 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time
Australia and New Zealand were all also pitted against each other at the Pool stage of the men’s tournament yesterday. Australia defeated New Zealand 21-14 in the opening men’s Pool B game. Later in the day both nations defeated Qatar which resulted in Australia finishing first in Pool B followed by New Zealand in second place which earnt both nations a spot in the quarter finals to be played tomorrow, Sunday 10 July. Australia will play Chinese Taipei in the first men’s quarter final at 3.35pm AEST and Japan will play New Zealand in the fourth and final men’s quarter final at 5.50pm AEST.
In the next month eight nations will be competing in the women’s 3×3 tournament at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games from Friday 29 July to Sunday 2 August. Three teams from the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup will be competing in the women’s 3×3 tournament at the Commonwealth Games with trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand being joined in this category by Sri Lanka.
Women’s FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup history
The FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup is being held for the fifth time in 2022, having first been held in Doha, Qatar on 15 and 16 May 2013 when it was known as the FIBA Asia 3×3 Championship. At the 2013 tournament India won the gold medal, defeating Mongolia 21-14 in the final.
In the FIBA Federation rankings Australia and New Zealand are both classified as being in the Oceania zone and competed in Oceania Championships against other nations from this region. Five nations competed at the 2015 FIBA Women’s 3×3 Oceania Championships held on the Gold Coast – Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa. The Australian team comprised of current team member Anneli Maley along with Alexandra Sharp, Elizabeth Tonks and Chantel Horvat won three of their four pool games with the loss being to New Zealand 6-9. The trans-Tasman rivals met again in the final and Australia were triumphant in a thriller 14-13 to win the gold medal. Cook Islands finished third at the tournament.
From 2017 onwards Oceania Championships were no longer held at senior level with nations from the Asia and Oceania zones both competing in the Asia Cup. Australia and New Zealand who are the clear-cut strongest two nations in the Oceania zone are able to face stronger opposition and a wider variety of opponents and playing styles competing in the Asia Cup.
At the 2017 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from 27 to 29 October the Australian team comprised of Isabelle Bourne, Sarah McAppion, Chantella Perera and Carlie Smith were undefeated in their five games to win the gold medal. In the final 9th seeds Australia defeated 6th seeds Malaysia 21-15. China defeated India 21-12 in the bronze medal game. Australian 16-year-old Bourne was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2017 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.
The 2018 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup held in Shenzen, China from April 27 to May 1 featured an epic encounter between trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand. After their semi-final went to overtime New Zealand guard Micaela Cocks made a two point shot to secure a 20-18 victory over Australia. The New Zealand team comprised of Cocks, Antonia Farnworth, Chevannah Paalvast and Kalani Purcell defeated host nation China 14-11 in the final to win the gold medal. In the bronze medal game the Australian team comprised of Bec Cole, Keely Froling, Maddie Garrick and Carlie Smith had a convincing victory over Japan 17-5. Cocks was named the tournament’s MVP and was joined in the team of the tournament by Australia captain Cole. Australia’s record at the tournament was seven wins and one loss, winning both games in the qualifying draw to progress to the main draw where they had a record of four wins and one loss.
At the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup held in Changsha, China from 22 to 26 May the Australian team comprised of Cole, Alice Kunek, Maddie Garrick and Hanna Zavecz won all five games, comprehensively defeating Kazakhstan 20-9 in the final to win the gold medal. Japan defeated Mongolia 21-14 in the third place game to win the bronze medal. Australian guard Cole was named the tournament’s MVP.
Australia have been the most successful nation at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in both the men’s and women’s tournament despite not being eligible to play in the 2013 tournament. Australia have won both the men’s tournament and women’s tournament twice with the women winning in 2017 and 2019 and the men winning the previous two editions of the tournament in 2018 and 2019. From three Asia Cup’s each the Australian men’s and women’s have each won two gold medals and one bronze medal and Australia is the only nation to win multiple gold medals at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.
Player profiles of the Australian women’s team at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup
Position: Forward DOB 1 September 1998
Height 186cm WNBL debut: 2016/17
Junior Club Eltham Wildcats (Victoria)
WNBL games played: 66 2021/22 and 2022/23 WNBL Team: Bendigo Spirit
Anneli Maley played her junior basketball with the Eltham Wildcats and has also represented Eltham at senior level in the NBL1 South conference in 2021 and 2022. At under-age level Maley represented Australia at several tournaments including Under 17 and Under 19 World Championships. Maley was a member of the Australian Gems team that won a bronze medal at the 2015 Under 19 FIBA World Championships held in Chekhov, Russia. Maley is an exceptional rebounder and at the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Cup held in Italy she led the sixth placed Gems for rebounds and ranked fourth overall at the tournament in this category.
Maley made her WNBL debut with Adelaide Lightning at 18 years of age in 2016/17 and playing off the bench finished in the top five of the WNBL’s 2016/17 Rookie of the Year Award. In an Adelaide Lightning victory on the road against the Dandenong Rangers Maley fell just short of recording a double-double, scoring 16 points and taking a team-high nine rebounds.
Anneli Maley playing for Adelaide Lightning against Dandenong Rangers at Dandenong Stadium on 8 January 2017
In the United States of America Maley played one season of college basketball for the Oregon Ducks in 2017/18, playing 37 games off the bench. After the 2017/18 college season Maley transferred from Oregon to Texas Christian University (TCU). Maley played 10 games for TCU including three as a starter in 2018/19 before returning to Australia during the Christmas break.
Playing for the Diamond Valley Eagles during the 2019 NBL1 season Maley averaged 19.6 points, 15.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game and was recognised for her outstanding season by being named the NBL1 women’s 2019 Youth Player of the Year.
Entering the 2020 WNBL season Maley had only 37 games WNBL experience including 25 games for the Southside Flyers off the bench in 2019/20, averaging 2.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 10.0 minutes per game.
Anneli Maley playing for Southside Flyers against Bendigo Spirit at Traralgon Stadium on 26 October 2019
During the 2020 WNBL hub season Maley flourished in a starting role with the Sydney Uni Flames to average 7.9 points, a league-leading 12.1 rebounds per game and 29.6 minutes court-time per game whilst also impressing with her defense. At 186 centimetres tall Maley consistently battles for rebounds against bigger bodies, however with the ability to read the flight of the ball superbly, together with great body positioning and timing Maley averaged 8.4 defensive rebounds and 3.7 offensive rebounds per game in 2020 to lead the WNBL in both categories. Highlighting how dominant Maley’s rebounding was her 12.1 rebounds per game during the 2020 regular season was 31.5% more than the second ranked player in the league – Melbourne Boomers forward/centre Cayla George with 9.2 rebounds per game. During the 2020 WNBL regular season Maley ranked in the league’s top 10 for free throws made with 30 and ranked equal second at Sydney for steals per game.
As a teenager Maley was a member of the Australian team that won the gold medal at the 2015 FIBA 3×3 Oceania Championships held on the Gold Coast. From 2019 onwards Maley has competed in several NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle events and has had success playing on teams with her partner, Marena Whittle who is also a member of the Australian team at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup. On 12 November 2021 Maley told 3x3hustle.com “I’d much rather be on Marena’s team than against her because we have won two Hustles together, so hopefully we can go out and win a third.”3 At the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle 7 held in Melbourne in March 2021, Maley, Whittle and Scherf were all members of the Melbourne Towers team that won the tournament with Lou Brown completing the quartet.
During an interview on the 20 April, 2021 NBL1 Show episode co-host Peter Hooley asked Maley “You do a lot of 3×3 stuff, part of the National squad for Australia in 3×3. What is the carry-over from a 3×3 game, training and preparation for that and then you go and play in a normal NBL1 game, anything that carries over or do you treat them both completely different?” Maley responded “I think that since I have started 3×3 my five on five game has excelled. I think that it really gives you the tools to be able to work on those one on one break-down stuff. It like levelled up my offensive game like nothing else, I think that when you are training for 3×3 obviously there is like no fouls it is very physical and fast-paced and you can’t hide your weaknesses. It is a fast-paced game so when you get it you have to be able to shoot, you have to be able drive, you have to be able to pass. In the 3×3 trainings and the games that we play against each other and stuff, I think that it has equipped me with the skills to carry over to five on five. The more 3×3 I do the more comfortable I feel with my one on one game in a five on five situation as well as the fitness that you get from a 3×3 game and the ability to finish through physicality, there’s just so many benefits that I carry over from one to the other.”
After signing with the Bendigo Spirit for the 2021/22 WNBL season Maley told the Bendigo Advertiser in early May 2021 “The next step for me is being more of a threat offensively. In the NBL1 I’m able to put my offensive game in play, and I think I’m capable of doing that at the next level, but the key for me is doing it more consistently.”4
Anneli is from a basketball family, her dad Paul Maley played 270 NBL games from 1990 to 2001, was part of North Melbourne’s 1994 Championship winning team and during his first two NBL seasons in 1990 and 1991 averaged a double-double for the entire season. After his playing career ended Paul has held several sports related roles and has worked at Basketball Australia from April 2015, he has had the role of Executive General Manager, Basketball since March 2019.
In a post-game interview with Fox Sports on 5 February 2022 Maley commented on her rebounding ability. “Ever since I can remember playing even as a little kid I just wanted the ball and I don’t know where that really came from, dad was a shooter, he wasn’t really a defensive player, he’ll tell you otherwise. I have always just wanted to have extra possessions for the team because I think basketball is a game of possession and the team that takes more shots and makes more shots wins. The drive for me has always been for the people around me, it’s fun to play that way.”
Anneli Maley playing for Bendigo Spirit against Melbourne Boomers at Melbourne Sports Centres Parkville on 6 March 2022
Playing as a forward for Bendigo Spirit during the 2021/22 WNBL season Maley well and truly developed into an offensive threat, averaging a league-leading 19.8 points per game – an astronomical 250% improvement on her previous season’s output. Maley averaged 15.7 rebounds per game in 2021/22 to again lead the WNBL in this category and also led the league for free-throws made and minutes played. Throughout the 2021/22 season Maley was remarkably consistent, scoring at least 13 points in 15 of her 16 games for Bendigo in 2021/22 and fell a solitary point short of recording a double-double in every game, scoring nine points against the Melbourne Boomers in a home game on 19 December. Maley was recognised for her incredible season, winning the 2021/22 Suzy Batkovic Medal for being the WNBL’s MVP and was also named in the All-WNBL first team.
Anneli Maley shooting a free-throw for Bendigo Spirit against Melbourne Boomers at Melbourne Sports Centres Parkville on 6 March 2022
In May 2022 Maley attended WNBA team Chicago Sky’s training camp. After being waived by Chicago Maley was signed as a hardship exception player due to several of Chicago’s players being overseas due to other playing commitments or injured. Maley played four regular season games for Chicago, averaging 2.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 11.0 minutes per game being waived when the players on Chicago’s roster returned.
On 31 May Maley made her debut with Australia’s senior women’s basketball team, the Opals in game three of the friendly series against Japan. Despite not being part of the Opals training camp due to her WNBA commitments with Chicago Sky and missing the first two games of the series Maley fitted in seamlessly. Immediately after being substituted in for her Opals debut at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre Maley took an offensive rebound off a missed free-throw and scored a field goal. Maley finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds. Maley is a member of an Australian Opals 15 player squad for a training camp and practice games later this month against Canada in New York as part of the Opals preparation for the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup held in Sydney from 22 September to 1 October.
During the 2021 NBL1 South season Maley averaged 17.3 points and a league-leading 23.4 rebounds per game for her home club the Eltham Wildcats. After her stint playing in the WNBA with Chicago Sky and making her Opals debut against Japan in late May Maley joined the Eltham Wildcats during the 2022 NBL1 South season. Maley has played four games for Eltham and is averaging 21.5 points, 20.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. In Maley’s most recent NBL1 game against Casey on June 26 she registered a triple double comprised of 17 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists. Maley leads the NBL1 South Conference for rebounds per game, ranks second in assists and eighth in scoring.
To celebrate Maley winning the WNBL’s 2021/22 Suzy Batkovic medal for being the league’s Most Valuable Player an article comprehensively covering Maley’s incredible career was published on 5 May, 2022. A link to this article is below:
WNBL Achievements: Suzy Batkovic medal winner 2021/22
All-WNBL first-team 2021/22
WNBL leading rebounder Award 2020, 2021/22
WNBL leading scorer Award 2021/22
Position: Guard DOB 18 December 1989
Height 170cm WNBL debut: 2012/13
Junior Club North Adelaide Rockets (South Australia)
WNBL games played: 155 2021/22 WNBL Team: Sydney Flames
2022/23 WNBL Team: Adelaide Lightning
Lauren Mansfield grew up in South Australia, played her junior basketball with the North Adelaide Rockets and went on to play her first two WNBL seasons with her home state club, the Adelaide Lightning in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
Mansfield played two seasons of college basketball in the United States of America for Midland Community College in 2008/09 and 2009/10. In 2010/11 and 2011/12 Mansfield played college basketball for Iowa State University. Playing as a point guard Mansfield made 61 starts in 64 games. In 2012 Mansfield captained the Iowa State Cyclones and was named in the Academic All-Big 12 Second team. During her two seasons at Iowa Mansfield had at least five assists in a game 26 times.
At World University Games Mansfield has been a member of two medal winning teams for Australia, winning a bronze medals in 2009 and 2013. In 2016 Mansfield was named in the Australian Opals extended 27 player squad.
At the 2017 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in the traditional five on five format held in India Mansfield played all six games for the silver medal winning Opals and was Australia’s equal leader for assists along with Katie Ebzery, ranked second for minutes played behind Ebzery and ranked equal third for steals and sixth for rebounds. After being named in the Australian Opals 12 player team for the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain Mansfield was a late withdrawal due to a foot injury.
At expansion club SEQ Stars first and only WNBL season in 2015/16 Mansfield had a break-out season as the Stars starting point guard to average 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game – ranked second in the WNBL behind Kelly Wilson. Due to an ankle injury Mansfield missed the final two rounds of the 2015/16 regular season as well as the finals.
Lauren Mansfield shooting a free-throw for SEQ Stars against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 8 November 2015
Mansfield has played a total of 155 WNBL games in eight seasons comprised of 48 games for Adelaide Lightning, 21 games for SEQ Stars, 24 games for the UC Capitals, 42 games for Perth Lynx and 20 games for the Sydney Uni Flames. Mansfield was Sydney’s co-captain for both her seasons with the club however a calf injury ended her 2021/22 season after seven games.
In four WNBL seasons Mansfield has averaged at least 13.0 points and 4.4 assists per game – 2015/16 with the SEQ Stars, 2016/17 with the University of Canberra Capitals and in the last two WNBL seasons with the Sydney Uni Flames in 2020 and 2021/22. A decade after commencing her WNBL career with Adelaide Lightning in 2012/13 Mansfield will be returning to her home state club for a second stint, having signed a two-year deal with Adelaide.
Lauren Mansfield playing for the University of Canberra Capitals against the Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 17 December 2016
After attending several training camps as part of the Australian 3×3 squad Mansfield is making her debut for Australia’s national 3×3 women’s team at this week’s 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Singapore.
Mansfield is in her second consecutive season with the Gold Coast Rollers in the NBL1 North conference and during the 2022 NBL1 North season is averaging 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Mansfield ranks seventh in the conference for assists per game and 12th in scoring.
Position: Forward/Centre DOB 7 March 1996
Height 196cm WNBL debut: 2013/14
Junior Club Melbourne Tigers (Victoria)
WNBL games played: 186 2021/22 and 2022/23 WNBL Team: Perth Lynx
At 17 years of age Scherf made her WNBL debut with the Dandenong Rangers in 2013/14 and played 86 games in four seasons with the club. In 2014/15 power forward/centre Scherf won the WNBL’s Betty Watson Rookie of the Year Award. In the Dandenong Rangers 2016 SEABL Grand Final victory Scherf won the Most Valuable Player Award.
Scherf represented the Australian Gems at FIBA Women’s Under 19 World Championships twice. As a double bottom-age player in 2013 Scherf played four of the bronze medal winning Gems nine games. At the 2015 FIBA Women’s Under 19 World Championships Scherf played all seven games and averaged 8.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Gems who won the bronze medal.
During 2017/18 and 2018/19 Scherf played 46 WNBL games for the University of Canberra Capitals and was a member of the club’s championship winning team in the latter season. As the Sydney Uni Flames starting centre in 2019/20 and 2020 Scherf averaged more than 8.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in each season.
At the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup held in Jordan from 27 September to 3 October Scherf played all six games for Australia, averaging 9.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocked shots and 21.2 minutes per game. Scherf led the bronze medal winning Opals for rebounds and blocked shots and ranked fourth for scoring and minutes played. Scherf also represented the Opals in their three game friendly series against Japan in New South Wales in late May 2022 but played far less court-time than at the 2021 Asia Cup.
Scherf was the starting centre in the Perth Lynx team that made the 2021/22 Grand Final and averaged 11.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game to set career highs in both categories. Scherf ranked third in the WNBL for rebounds, fifth for blocked shots (1.0 per game) and finished runner-up in Perth’s MVP Award behind American import guard Jackie Young.
Lauren Scherf taking a rebound for Perth Lynx against Melbourne Boomers at the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium on 6 February 2022
Scherf first competed at a 3×3 tournament in 2013, winning the gold medal with the aptly named Australia Gold team at the AYOF Basketball 3×3 tournament in January. Scherf represented Diamond Valley at the NBL ProHustle II in early May 2018. At the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle 7 held in Melbourne in March 2021, Scherf was a member of the Melbourne Towers team that won the tournament along with Lou Brown and Australian 3×3 teammates Maley and Whittle.
For the FIBA 3X3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Austria from 26 to 30 May Scherf was Australia’s travelling emergency. Scherf is one of two players along with Mansfield making their debut for Australia’s national 3×3 team at the 2022FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Singapore this week.
During the 2022 NBL1 South season Scherf has played 12 games for the Kilsyth Cobras and is averaging 19.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game. Scherf ranks fifth in the NBL1 South Conference for rebounds per game and eighth for blocked shots.
WNBL Achievements: Betty Watson Rookie of the Year 2014/15
WNBL Championship 2018/19 (with University of Canberra Capitals)
Position: Guard/Forward DOB 28 January 1994
Height 180cm WNBL debut: 2018/19
Junior Club Nunawading (Victoria)
WNBL games played: 74 2021/22 WNBL Team: Adelaide Lightning
Free agent for the 2022/23 WNBL season
Marena Whittle commenced her junior career with the Nunawading Spectres in metropolitan Melbourne and later on represented the Spectres at State League level, earning SEABL (now NBL1 South) All-Star five selection with Nunawading in both 2017 and 2018.
In a four-season college career with North Dakota State University from 2012/13 to 2015/16 Whittle averaged 11.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocked shots per game. Whittle led the Summit League with 10.3 rebounds per game in her senior season in 2015/16 and was named in the All-Summit League First Team.
For the 2017/18 WNBL season Whittle was on Townsville’s roster but due to injury was unable to play a game during the season. On 13 October 2018 Whittle made her WNBL debut for the Bendigo Spirit against the Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre and excelled, scoring a team-high 21 points.
From April 2018 onwards Whittle has been very successful on the 3×3 circuit, in a 13 month period from April 2018 to April 2019 Marena represented Spectres i-Athletic in six tournaments with the team winning four tournaments including the first two NBL Pro Hustle Events, and finished on the podium in the other two events. During May 2019 Whittle represented Australia in 3×3 basketball in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup Qualifier 2019 tournament which Australia won, and since then has won several 3×3 tournaments on the Australian domestic circuit. Whittle has had success at several 3×3 tournaments playing on the same team as her partner and fellow Australian representative Anneli Maley including having won two Pro Hustle events as teammates. At the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle 7 held in Melbourne in March 2021, Whittle, Maley and a third member of the Australian 3×3 team for the 2022 3×3 team Scherf, were members of the Melbourne Towers team that won the tournament along with Lou Brown.
After not playing a game in 2017/18 due to injury Whittle has played 74 consecutive WNBL games, having represented Bendigo Spirit in 2018/19, Perth Lynx in 2019/20 and Adelaide Lightning in 2020 and 2021/22. In her first three seasons Whittle averaged at least 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Whittle ranked second at Adelaide in 2020 for rebounding (5.3 rpg) and steals (1.2 spg), fifth for scoring and minutes played and led the Lightning with 1.9 offensive rebounds per game.
Victorian guard/forward Marena Whittle was impacted by the border restrictions in place due to COVID-19 and was only able to cross the border from Victoria to join her Adelaide Lightning late in the 2021/22 pre-season. Predominantly playing off the bench for Adelaide Lightning in 2021/22 Whittle ranked fourth for her club in rebounding (4.0 rpg) and third for steals averaging 16.7 minutes per game.
During the 2022 NBL1 South season Whittle has played 12 games for the Ringwood Hawks and is averaging 20.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game. Whittle ranks third in the NBL1 South Conference for steals and in the top 15 for points and rebounds. Whittle enters the 2022 3×3 FIBA Asia Cup in tremendous form, having been named the NBL1 South women’s player of the week for her performance in Round 10, averaging 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in Ringwood’s victories against Melbourne Tigers on 29 June and Waverley Falcons on 1 July.
Article and photographs by Dean Andrews
Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777
Milestones and Misses
Milestones and Misses publishes articles to celebrate the achievements of sportspeople, mainly in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and Australian Rules Football (AFL and AFLW). In sport as with life in general it is common that milestones are only achieved after overcoming adversity, so whilst the articles on the Milestones and Misses website celebrate sportspeople achieving milestones they also cover the misses along the journey such as a player having minimal game-time or spending a prolonged period on the sidelines due to injury. The aim of the articles is to enable readers to gain a greater appreciation of the journey sportspeople have had during their career.
A link to Milestones and Misses homepage and WNBL category is below:
The Milestones and Misses website was set up in December 2015. From 2020 onwards articles have been published on the following sportspeople: