US college team to tour NZ and Australia

New Zealand's top female basketballers are set to compete against a touring American college team from the University of Hawaii.

Known as the Rainbow Wahine, the Hawaii team will make an 11 day tour of New Zealand and Australia in August to play four teams boasting a mix of the best local talent.

The two Kiwi teams facing off against the Division 1 American college side are likely to be split into a North and South Island sides.

Players from both will be drawn from the teams that compete in New Zealand's Women's Basketball Championships.

Tour director Ashley Gayle says a similar tour last year by fellow American college team Cal Berkeley drew a big crowd at Auckland's North Shore Event Centre.

The US team "really enjoyed their time in New Zealand and our girls gave them a fright on the court", she said.

"So I think the level of women's basketball here is rapidly improving and at a higher level than some might have expected," she said.

The group behind the trip, New Zealand International Basketball Tours, also hopes to promote local tourism by taking the American players to destinations, such as Waiheke Island.

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