The Australian Diamonds have finished the Constellation Cup series with their first victory of 2012, defeating the New Zealand Silver Ferns 59-53 at CBS Canterbury Arena in Christchurch on Sunday.
With the Constellation Cup already in the hands of the Silver Ferns courtesy of victories in Melbourne and Auckland, the Diamonds put together their best performance of the series to record their largest score at the conclusion of regular time against New Zealand since 2007.
The Diamonds started the third Test with just one change from the team that nearly formulated a remarkable comeback in game two with Bianca Chatfield replacing the departed Julie Corletto at goal defence.
With the captain Natalie von Bertouch and vice-captain Catherine Cox on the bench, the Australians opted for youthful exuberance in a bid to overcome the slow starts with no player having more than 50 international caps in the starting seven.
The Silver Ferns were quickest out of the blocks, scoring five consecutive goals to race out to a 7-4 lead early in the first quarter before the hanging onto a 20-15 advantage at quarter-time.
The second quarter belonged to the Diamonds as they overturned a five goal quarter-time deficit into a four goal half-time lead, which included a run of eight goals to two late in the half courtesy of intercepts from Kim Green, Renae Hallinan and Laura Geitz.
After scoring 20 goals in the first quarter, Diamonds picked up their defence around the circle edge to shut down the Silver Ferns feed into van Dyk and Brown, limiting the shooters to just eight goals for the second quarter.
Leading 32-28 at half-time, the Australians maintained their momentum in the third quarter to extend their half-time margin to twelve goals as goal attack Natalie Medhurst carved up the circle and was flawless with ball in hand while Bassett caused headaches under the post.
The Silver Ferns introduced Catherine Latu at goal shooter which paid dividends as the hosts outscored the Diamonds 18-12 in the fourth quarter to reduce a 12-goal three-quarter time margin however it was too little too late as the Australians hung on to win.
Player of the Match – Natalie Medhurst
photos Janos Schmidt