Australia has enjoyed the ideal tune-up for its Pool A showdown against arch rivals New Zealand with a record-breaking 83-16 victory over Barbados at the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015.
The 67-goal victory at Allphones Arena was Australia’s 21^st Test win in a row, making it now the third longest winning streak in the country’s history.
It was Australia’s highest score in 11 Tests against Barbados – beating their previous best of 82 - and greatest winning margin, overtaking their 59-goal victory that were both achieved at Manchester in March, 2002.
The Gems’ total was also the lowest against Australia at a Netball World Cup since 1995.
It was the Diamonds second straight victory to open their World Cup defence and will be aiming to equal their record winning streak of 10 Tests when they confront the Silver Ferns, who are also unbeaten from their two pool matches, tomorrow afternoon.
Caitlin Bassett showed why she’s regarded the world’s leading goal shooter with a dominant second half performance, scoring 30 goals at 100 per cent accuracy as the Diamonds posted 20 goals or more in three of the four quarters.
Coach Lisa Alexander mixed up her starting line-up from the previous night’s win over Trinidad & Tobago with Caitlin Thwaites given the goal shooter bib, partnering Erin Bell in the goal circle while Paige Hadley began at wing attack.
Bell and Thwaites got Australia off to the perfect start as the Diamonds raced to a 17-goal lead at quarter time.
It was an impressive opening by the Diamonds, who scored the opening six goals of the game with the defensive pressure of midcourters Renae Hallinan, Kim Ravaillion and Hadley a standout while captain Laura Geitz and Sharni Layton only allowed the Gems six shots at goal.
Rebecca Bulley took the wing defence bib from Hallinan to start the second term and the Diamonds picked up where they left off, scoring the first eight goals of the quarter.
Bell brought up her 100^th World Cup goal just before half-time as Australia powered to a commanding 38-7 lead at the main break.
Alexander continued to rotate her squad to start the second half with Bassett and Natalie Medhurst replacing Bell and Thwaites in the goal circle while vice-captain Kimberlee Green came into wing attack.
The Diamonds produced their best quarter of the game in the third term, outscoring the Gems 23-4 to be 50 goals ahead at the last break.
Barbados enjoyed their best period of the game in the final quarter but were powerless to stop the Diamonds enjoying a confidence-building victory.
The Diamonds face the Silver Ferns at 2.20pm (AEST) at Allphones Arena on Sunday afternoon. The match will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS, ONE and the Netball Live App.
Official Result & Statistics
AUSTRALIAN DIAMONDS (83) defeated BARBADOS (16)
Australian Diamonds shooting statistics:
Caitlin Bassett 30/30 (100%)
Erin Bell 21/24 (88%)
Caitlin Thwaites 17/18 (94%)
Natalie Medhurst 15/19 (79%)
Barbados shooting statistics:
Shonica Wharton 7/13 (54%)
Nikita Piggott 5/11 (45%)
Sheniqua Thomas 4/5 (80%)
photos Janos Schmidt