AUSTRALIAN coach Lisa Alexander has revealed the secret of her team’s success as the Diamonds refound their mojo, taking down New Zealand for the second time in five days in the annual Constellation Cup
Alexander said the 10-goal loss to the Silver Ferns just a month ago was never far from her team’s mind and was spurring the world No.1 side to new heights in the international netball arena.
“That loss to the Kiwis is something we are not about to forget in a hurry,’’ Alexander said from New Zealand.
A combination of blinding, speed, patience and precision on Sunday delivered Australia a 60-52 victory in Christchurch in the annual series between world netball’s leading teams.
While far from perfect, the win still illustrated Australia was back on track to defend its Commonwealth Games crown in April.
“I’m happy with them,’’ Alexander declared after a match in which captain and sharpshooter Caitlin Bassett netted her 2000th international goal in her 71st appearance for Australia.
Alexander sent her strongest line-up into the match and made only minor changes as she and selectors continue their hunt for the combinations they believe has the best chance of winning gold on home turf at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Veteran Susan Pettitt was replaced at halftime by Steph Wood to mix things up in the shooting department for the only change.
The Silver Ferns, however, made countless shuffles in a bid to record their first win of the series.
“How lucky are we to have both Susan and Steph able to be thrown in there and have something completely different,’’ Alexander said.
After a fast start by the hosts, it took the Diamonds 11 minutes to level the score with a five goal run near the end of the period that put the Australians up 14-11.
The Diamonds led by as much as six goals in the second quarter but were unable to shake the Silver Ferns who trailed by just three — 26-29 — at halftime.
The Australians owned the third quarter, jumping out to an eight-goal lead before being reined in slightly to go into the final period up 44-39.
“I like the way we go ourselves out of trouble in the first quarter,’’ Alexander said.
Alexander said she was confident her team would bring the same intensity to the remaining two matches of the Constellation Cup in Adelaide on Wednesday and Sydney on Saturday.
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