Basketball: 2020 Olympics dream over for Tall Ferns

Stella Black.
Stella Black. Photo credit: Image: Getty

The Tall Ferns have suffered a bizarre case of heartbreak,. defeating South Korea in Auckland, but missing out on a sport at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Despite beating the world No.18 side 69-63, the Kiwi women needed to win by more than 12 points to advance to the next stage of Olympic qualifying.

The four-point win wasn't enough, as Korea and China progressed to February's next qualifying tournament. 

The hosts needed a fast start and that's exactly what they gave themselves, with hot shooting from Antonia Edmondson and Penina Davidson providing a 21-8 lead into the first break. 

South Korea closed the gap in the second quarter, winning it 20-16 to make the score 37-28 to the hosts at halftime.

The visitors worked their way back into the contest throughout the third quarter, claiming it 22-18 to trail by five points, heading into the final quarter. 

With the 12-point margin needed, the Tall Ferns were in control of their destiny, but Korea wouldn't let it happen, as they shot their way back into contention late in the match.

Leeseul Kang caught fire for the Koreans, making five threes, as the Kiwis hung on for a victory, but Korea advanced on goal difference. 

"You always want to win games, but we knew the margin was 12," Tall Ferns forward Natalie Taylor said. "It hurts a bit for sure.

"We did a lot of really good things, we lost to these guys six weeks ago and now we beat them. It's bittersweet, but I'm happy with where we are at."