The Australian Diamonds have taken a 2-1 lead in the 2013 Constellation Cup with a 58-50 victory over the New Zealand Silver Ferns at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday.
A 50th international appearance for shooter Natalie Medhurst, who became just the 22nd player to reach the milestone, and a win for Laura Geitz in her first Test as captain on home soil highlighted an impressive team performance.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander opted for the same starting seven that led her side to victory in Auckland and they repaid the faith, playing with confidence across the court.
The two sides picked up from where they left off in their last Test with a high intensity and physical contest from the first whistle as Geitz and shooter Irene van Dyk renewed their rivalry under the post.
Momentum swung as goals came in patches after a tentative start, which saw both sides guilty of conceding possession through turnovers and costly penalties.
The Diamonds scored eight goals to two midway through the first quarter to race out to a 10-6 lead before the Silver Ferns struck back with their own passage of dominance.
Leading 15-13 at quarter-time, the Diamonds defensive pair of Geitz and Bianca Chatfield stepped up their circle pressure while the midcourt moved with speed and precision in transition.
At the opposite end, shooters Caitlin Bassett and Medurst opened a ten-goal advantage, 30-20, before the Silver Ferns again responded to close the gap at half-time with four consecutive goals.
The third quarter brought little reprieve for the visitors, who had difficulty in finding the circle edge to feed their shooters, as the Diamonds added 17 goals in the third quarter, which included a run of 11 goals to two to finish the stanza.
New Zealand turned to the bench at three-quarter time and introduced Catherine Latu at goal shooter for the first time this series; she provided a late spark for the Silver Ferns.
It was too little to late for the Silver Ferns, who won the last quarter 16-11, as the Diamonds went on to claim an eight-goal victory and series advantage.
The Australians will be eyeing the one victory needed to re-claim the Constellation Cup title when the Coles Netball Test Series continues at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Monday night.
Australian defender Laura Geitz was named Player of the Match.
|Australian Diamonds||New Zealand Silver Ferns|
|GS||Caitlin Bassett||Irene van Dyk|
|GA||Natalie Medhurst||Maria Tutaia|
|WA||Kimberlee Green||Courtney Tairi|
|C||Kimberley Ravaillion||Laura Langman|
|WD||Renae Hallinan||Joline Henry|
|GD||Bianca Chatfield||Casey Kopua|
|GK||Laura Geitz||Katrina Grant|
|Australian Diamonds (15) v New Zealand Silver Ferns (13)|
|Australia||Bassett 8/9 (89%)||Medhurst 7/7 (100%)|
|New Zealand||van Dyk 5/6 (83%)||Tutaia 8/10 (80%)|
|Australian Diamonds (30) v New Zealand Silver Ferns (24)|
|Australia||Bassett 11/12 (92%)||Medhurst 4/5 (80%)|
|New Zealand||van Dyk 5/5 (100%)||Tutaia 6/9 (67%)|
|Australian Diamonds (47) v New Zealand Silver Ferns (34)|
|Australia||Bassett 13/13 (100%)||Medhurst 4/4 (100%)|
|New Zealand||van Dyk 8/8 (100%)||Tutaia 2/3 (67%)|
|Australian Diamonds (58) v New Zealand Silver Ferns (50)|
|Australia||Bassett 8/9 (89%)||Medhurst 3/3 (100%)|
|New Zealand||Latu 9/10 (90%)||Tutaia 7/8 (88%)|
|Caitlin Bassett 40/43 (93%)||Maria Tutaia 23/30 (77%)|
|Natalie Medhurst 18/19 (95%)||Irene van Dyk 18/19 (95%)|
|Catherine Latu 9/10 (90%)|