Blue Dragons In The Olympics

Natalie Purcell played in 2008 Olympics for New Zealand

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball program had its first player compete in the Olympics ever when Natalie Purcell played for the New Zealand women’s national team in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Purcell was the first HCC athlete to compete in the Olympics since Steve Fritz finished fourth in the decathlon in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Purcell, a 6-foot forward who played at Hutchinson in 2002-03 and 2003-04, was an All-Jayhawk Conference performer for the Blue Dragons in 2004.

She was the 2003-04 team’s leading scorer and rebounder averaging 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds. Purcell was one of the team’s top 3-point shooters with 33.

Purcell had 16 points and 11 rebounds in a 64-50 victory over Seward County, which snapped the Saints’ 135-game home-court winning streak on Feb. 29, 2004.

From Hutchinson, Purcell moved onto Southeast Missouri State, where she was a two-year starter for the Redhawks and helped SEMO advance to the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

Purcell played in all five New Zealand games, averaging 3.2 points. She had an Olympics-high six points in a loss to the United States. New Zealand went 1-4 in pool play.

Natalie is the second of three Purcell sisters to play with the New Zealand women’s national team, known as the Tall Ferns. Charmian started playing for the Tall Ferns in 2007 and younger sister Kalani, a two-time NJCAA All-American at Hutchinson, was on the 2016 team that tried to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

Natalie has played professionally in Australian and Ireland.


Natalie Purcell's Game-By-Game Stats from 2008 Olympics

Opponent Result Points Rebounds Assists Steals
Mali W, 76-72 5 6 0 1
Spain L, 85-62 0 2 0 1
China L, 80-63 5 3 0 0
Czech Republic L, 90-59 0 0 0 0
United State L, 96-60 6 5 0 1