Australia outclass sloppy Silver Ferns, Diamonds wrap up Constellation Cup series

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1 NEWS | NZN

The Diamonds have wrapped up the Constellation Cup series after just two matches, outplaying the Silver Ferns 60-52 in Christchurch this afternoon.

After edging the Kiwis 57-54 in Auckland three days ago, Australia were ruthlessly efficient across all four quarters at Horncastle Arena.

They trailed early, but never looked back after hitting the front late in the first quarter.

Maria Tutaia again started in the shooter's circle for New Zealand, with Bailey Mes out at goal attack, and the Ferns kick-started the quarter with three quick goals.

While the Diamonds took some time to fire in the front third, their through-court defence was as uncompromising as ever, and the pressure eventually told with a steady stream of turnover ball.

With goal shoot Caitlin Bassett dominating the front space, and with goal attack Susan Pettitt equally adept on the shot or feed, the Diamonds stormed back to close the spell with a five-goal run to lead 14-11 at the first break.

The Australians continued to dominate through the middle in the second stanza, opening out to a six-goal lead midway through the spell before Ferns coach Janine Southby rang the changes.

Tutaia shifted out to goal attack, while Te Paea Selby-Rickit replaced Mes (10 from 13) at goal shoot, and the Kiwis scrapped their way back with two late goals cutting back the Diamonds lead to 29-26 at half-time.

Circle defenders Courtney Bruce and April Brandley continued to generate turnover ball throughout the third quarter, and midcourters Kim Ravaillion and Liz Watson were ruthlessly efficient in shifting the bonus possession downcourt.

Pettitt was replaced by Steph Wood at the main break, the 25-year-old slotting into a familiar shooting circle combination with Sunshine Coast Lightning teammate Bassett.

From then on, the Diamonds controlled play, both on attack with a pacy midcourt drive and on defence, where they pushed the Kiwis wide and slowed down the circle feed.

The Ferns kept battling, Tutaia nailing a spectacular long bomb right on the buzzer but the Diamonds still took a 44-39 lead into the final quarter.

There was no chance of a last-gasp comeback, the Australians controlling the tempo right to the final whistle to wrap up the win.

The teams now to travel for the third Test in Adelaide on Wednesday, with the final match in Sydney three days later.

Shooting stats:

New Zealand: Maria Tutaia 26/29, Bailey Mes 10/13, Te Paea Selby-Rickit 16/19.

Australia: Caitlin Bassett 40/44, Susan Pettitt 8/9, Stephanie Wood 12/14.

FULLTIME - NZL 52 AUS 60

58 mins: NZL 51 AUS 59

NZ getting desperate and Maria Tutaia throws a bad pass and Australia convert off her mistake.

56 mins: NZL 49 AUS 54

Australia well in charge at the moment and it is NZ's mistakes that have cost them chances to get themselves back in the match.

53 mins: NZL 47 AUS 52

The task looking difficult for NZ now to get out on top, with only seven minutes remaining.

49 mins: NZL 43 AUS 48

NZ fail to convert their opportunities in the shooting circle and Australia continue to build their lead. 

45 mins: NZL 40 AUS 44

A poor start from Australia as they hand the ball right back to NZ. Maria Tutaia is the first to score a much needed goal for NZ.

45 mins: NZL 39 AUS 44

Probably the best quarter for the Diamonds, creating all sorts of problems for NZ on attack and defence. NZ make a minor comeback at the end of the quarter but it is Australia who have the upperhand with one more quarter remaining.

42 mins: NZL 35 AUS 43

Maria Tutaia sinks a much needed goal for NZ as Australia start to runaway with the game. They lead by eight-points.

40 mins: NZL 34 AUS 40

The movement of the Aussies with the in hand is just too quick for NZ to defend and they extend their lead by six-points.

38 mins: NZL 32 AUS 38

Australia causing all sorts of trouble for NZ as the Ferns struggle to find momentum on attack and get the ball into the shooting circle. 

35 mins: NZL 32 AUS 36

Temalisi Fakahokotau reads it perfectly and gets an intercept for NZ with Katrina Grant cleaning it up securing possession of the ball.

32 mins: NZL 27 AUS 31

Temalisi Fakahokotau replaces Kelly Jury at GK. Australia earn themselves another turnover after NZ are penalised for contact. 

30 mins: NZL 26 AUS 29

Australia with the centre pass to get the second half underway.

HALFTIME - NZL 26 AUS 29

Maria Tutaia of New Zealand competes against April Brandley of Australia. 2017 Constellation Cup match, New Zealand Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds at Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. 5 October 2017 © Copyright Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz

Maria Tutaia of New Zealand competes against April Brandley of Australia.

Source: Photosport

30 mins: NZL 26 AUS 29

Nice work in the shooting circle by the new shooter getting an important rebound as Maria Tutaia is off target with her shot. Te Paea Selby-Rickit nails her attempt at goal just before the break and NZ trail Australia by three-points at halftime.

28 mins: NZL 24 AUS 27

Shannon Francois manages to disrupt the play for Australia and NZ's shooters get the Ferns back into the match. They now trail by three points.

27 mins: NZL 21 AUS 27

Australia stretch their lead out to six-points with three minutes remaining in the quarter.

25 mins: NZL 20 AUS 24

Great quick reactions from NZ's Kelly Jury as she forces the turnover batting the ball out of Caitlin Bassett's grasp.

23 mins: NZL 17 AUS 22

Turnover and NZ's Samantha Sinclair gets her hand in the way and gets the ball back for NZ. A change here for the Silver Ferns with Te Paea Selby-Rickit replacing Bailey Mes.

20 mins: NZL 16 AUS 19

NZ's Gina Crampton links up with Bailey Mes delivering a beautiful pass and she nails a crucial goal for NZ.

17 mins: NZL 13 AUS 18

NZ come up with an excellent turnover not long after the whistle signals for the start of the second quarter. But Australia are applying real pressure now and extend their lead out to five-points.

15 mins: NZL 11 AUS 14

Australia rally and come up with four consecutive goals - the lead NZ by three points after the first quarter. 

13 mins: NZL 11 AUS 11

NZ throw a loose pass and the Diamonds capitalise on their mistake and level the scores.

11 mins: NZL 10 AUS 9

Australia get themselves back into the match, now trail the Silver Ferns by one-point. NZ are really struggling to get the ball down into the shooting circle with the relentless pressure from the visitors.

9 mins: NZL 9 AUS 5

This time it is NZ's Gina Crampton who finds her mark with a great pass to Bailey Mes who sinks her shot at goal.

7 mins: NZL 6 AUS 4

Great vision from Maria Tutaia as she throws a bullet pas to Bailey Mes, she nails the shot at goal from close range.

5 mins: NZL 5 AUS 2

Australia on the back foot here as they make another error and hand the ball over to the Ferns. But they work hard on defence to get the ball back with NZ penalised for holding.

4 mins: NZL 3 AUS 0

NZ ou to an early lead and the Diamonds are penalised again with Caitlin Bassett ruled to have contacted Silver Ferns defender Kelly Jury. New Zealand now up 3-0.

0 mins: NZL 0 AUS 0

Australia with the centre pass to get the game underway. They come up with an error giving the Silver Ferns the first opportunity to score first.

TEAMS:

Silver Ferns: Katrina Grant (c), Maria Tutaia (vc), Gina Crampton, Kayla Cullen, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Shannon Francois, Kelly Jury, Bailey Mes, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Samantha Sinclair, Whitney Souness, Maia Wilson.

Australian Diamonds: Caitlin Bassett, April Brandley, Courtney Bruce, Emily Mannix, Caitlyn Nevins, Susan Pettitt, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Stephanie Wood.

0 mins: NZL 0 AUS 0
11 mins: NZL 10 AUS 9
11 mins: NZL 10 AUS 9

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