Tall Ferns demolish Philippines in opening Olympic qualifier

The Tall Ferns have got their Olympic qualifier campaign off to a near-perfect start with an impressive win over the Philippines in Auckland last night.

The New Zealand women's basketball team notched an emphatic 111-54 win in their opening game - the first on home soil in four years.

Tessa Boagni and Penina Davidson led the Tall Ferns' scoring with 16 points each but other notable contributors included Ashliegh Karaitiana [13 points], Toni Farnworth [12] and Natalie Taylor [11].

Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy said he expected a nervous start from his side but was pleased about their tight defence.

"Credit to everyone who came out and put a lot of energy into our defence to blow the nerves off and start the game in a positive way.

"This game was over at half-time on the back of our ability to run and play good defence."

Captain Kalani Purcell added she was happy with the team's performance.

"We really tried to work on our defence to try and get a transition game and I think we did that pretty well," she said.

The Tall Ferns next face China, who were upset by South Korea 81-80 in last night's other game, on Saturday.

A win there would guarantee them a spot in the final Olympic qualifying round in February, otherwise they'll have to wait until Sunday for their own game against South Korea to see who finishes in the top two and moves on.