It may seem a relatively new combination at international level, but the Australian Diamonds’ pairing of Caitlin Bassett and Tegan Caldwell has actually been five years in the making.
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander was encouraged by what she saw when the duo combined in the goal circle in the second half of Australia’s nine-goal victory in the second Test of the Constellation Cup series against New Zealand.
Bassett claimed her first international MVP award after shooting 33 goals at 82 per cent accuracy, following hauls of 49 and 44 against the Silver Ferns in their previous two meetings.
Caldwell replaced Natalie Medhurst at goal attack in the second half for her international debut on home soil in front of an adoring Melbourne crowd and immediately made an impact, helping the Diamonds extend a three-goal half-time lead out to 10.
Bassett and Caldwell were instrumental behind Australia’s triumph at the 2009 World Youth Cup in the Cook Islands.
Bassett finished that tournament the fourth best shooter – behind Mwai Kumwenda (Malawi), Paula Griffin (New Zealand) and Romelda Aiken (Jamaica) with 255 goals at 90 per cent accuracy.
It took until the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow this year for the pair to be reunited in the green and gold but Alexander is excited about the potential the Bassett-Caldwell combination has to offer the Diamonds.
“It started at the World Youth Cup back in 2009 so there’s already some great connections there,” Alexander said.
“I thought Tegan did a terrific job in opening up the spaces in our attack end.”
Bassett, who has now played 42 Tests since making her Diamonds’ debut in 2008, has become one of the world’s top goal shooters over the past 12 months and Alexander said her MVP win on Wednesday night was well-deserved.
“I said to her I thought she played very smartly in the last quarter and really took control of that circle and got her timing right,” Alexander said.
“So that really helped us to get that win.”
The 2014 Constellation Cup continues on Saturday 11 October when the Australian Diamonds host the Silver Ferns at Sydney’s Allphones Arena from 7.00pm (AEST).
The match will be shown live on FOX Sports and SBS2 and also broadcast live on ABC Grandstand online.