The Australian Diamonds have defeated the New Zealand Silver Ferns, 52-47, in Game Four at Rod Laver Arena to reclaim the Constellation Cup.
There is still one match to be played in the series, this Sunday 13 October at AIS Arena in Canberra, however with the Diamonds having a 3-1 advantage they have clinched the series after losing the Cup last year.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Aussies with the Kiwis putting on a dominant performance in the final quarter, scoring 16 goals to 11, to take the game right down to the wire after the Diamonds had a comfortable 10 goal lead at three quarter time.
Starting for the Silver Ferns GS Cathrine Latu opened the scoring with the Kiwis starting with first centre pass. But the Diamonds took early ascendency, pulling out to a four goal lead halfway through the opening quarter however it wasn’t easy with the Silver Ferns putting on their impressive zone defence they’re renown for.
Diamonds GS Caitlin Bassett enjoyed a height advantage over her counterpart GK Katrina Grant, with her influence giving Australia a two goal buffer at the first break, leading the Silver Ferns 12-10.
New Zealand came out firing for the second quarter and soon had evened the scoreboard. Some ill-discipline from Latu saw the Kiwis lose possession with the Aussies taking full advantage – within two minutes the Diamonds quickly put up three goals to lead once more.
The momentum was with the Diamonds as their quick-paced midcourt worked fast to break the New Zealand zone defence. Nat Medhurst at GA stood up as the Kiwi defenders paid extra attention to Bassett, seeing the Diamonds pull out to an eight goal advantage.
But the Silver Ferns weren’t to be discouraged, putting three quick goals in the final minute before half time to narrow the gap to five goals; Aussies leading 26-21.
Turnovers marred the opening of the second half for both teams as the pressure and intensity lifted in front of a packed out Rod Laver Arena. Once again it was through Bassett the Diamonds began to find momentum, with some beautiful feeding into the goal shooter to find the net.
With the defenders working overtime to limit the influence of the Kiwi attackers, the Diamonds were able to pull out to a healthy 10 goal lead at the final break, 41-31.
With their third consecutive loss and the Series decider looming the Silver Ferns came out firing for the final 15 minutes, putting up 13 goals to the Diamonds six and soon had pulled back the deficit to three with just five minutes left on the clock.
However the Australians stayed calm, moving the ball patiently and safely around the court to withstand the kiwi resurgence to post a five goal victory and reclaim the Constellation Cup.
The two sides will now travel to Canberra to contest the final match of the 2013 series at AIS Arena, a match to commemorate the nation capital’s 100th Birthday. Netball fans can tune into FOX SPORTS or SBS 2 to catch the action, or follow NSW Swifts social media channels – www.facebook.com/OfficiallyNSWSwifts,www.twitter.com/theNSWSwifts.
Following the Constellation Cup the Australian Diamonds take on Malawi in two Tests in Wollongong on Wednesday 16 October, and on the Gold Coast on Saturday 19 October – tickets available via Ticketek.
DIAMONDS – Q1: 12 – Q2: 26 (14) – Q3: 41 (15) – Q4: 52 (11)
SILVER FERNS – Q1: 10 – Q2: 21 (11) – Q3: 31 (10) – Q4: 47 (16)
DIAMONDS: 52/58 @ 90%
Caitlin Bassett: 40/44 @ 91%
Nat Medhurst: 12/14 @ 86%
SILVER FERNS: 47/57 @ 82%
Cathrine Latu: 21/25 @ 84%
Maria Tutaia: 26/32 @ 81%
Teams Starting Positions
DIAMONDS: GS Caitlin Bassett, GA Nat Medhurst, WA Kim Green, C Kim Ravaillion, WD Renae Hallinan, GD Bianca Chatfield (vc), GK Laura Geitz (c)
SILVER FERNS: GS Cathrine Latu, GA Maria Tutaia, WA Shannon Francois, C Laura Langman (vc), WD Joline Henry, GD Casey Kopua (c), GK Katrina Grant09