Tokyo Olympics 2020: Tall Ferns begin qualifying campaign with Philippines win

The Tall Ferns have begun their Olympic qualifying campaign with an emphatic 111-54 win over the Philippines in Auckland, their first home match in four years.

Tessa Boagni and Penina Davidson led the way with 16 points each for New Zealand, who last appeared at the Olympics at Beijing 2008. 

After a close 23-19 first quarter, the Tall Ferns outscored their rivals by 25 points to lead 60-28 at the main break. 

The third quarter was again close, but New Zealand held the edge, heading into the final quarter with an 83-47 lead.

Then, it was all one-way traffic as the Ferns outscored their opponents by 21 points to claim a convincing win. 

New Zealand passed the 100-point mark with less than three minutes left and Ella Fotu - sister of Tall Blacks star Issac - scored two points in the final seconds to ensure all 12 New Zealand players found the basket. 

Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy was pleased with the improvement his team had shown over recent weeks. Two months ago, New Zealand beat the Asian nation 75-57, so the scoreline was far more convincing. 

"I expected that everyone would be nervous, so 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," said Molloy.

"Credit to the Philippines, who battled away, despite being outsized, because it is difficult. We had the opportunity to play them twice earlier this year, so we were able to put a better gameplan in place."

"This game was over at half-time on the back of our ability to run and play good defence, so it's a credit to our players how hard they have worked in the interim to get into better shape between Asia Cup and now.

New Zealand's next game is against China on Saturday, with South Korea the following day.

Pre-tournament favourites China will be determined to win, after losing to Korea 81-80 in their opening match. 

The top two teams at this event progress to the final Olympic qualifying round in February.