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NZ 55 Australia 49
Brilliant second half - and particularly final quarter - for the Silver Ferns, outscoring their rivals 17-9 over that final 15 minutes.
Maia Wilson connected on 41/43 shots at goal - just two misses - but defender Jane Watson and midcourt Sam Winders were superb on defence, with Watson stealing three intercepts.
NZ still had more turnovers (20-19), but converted 92 percent of their shots on goal, while the Aussie shooters missed 14 times (78 percent).
Fourth quarter (NZ 55-49)
Fulltime - Bassett looks awkward under goal, but scores - it's too late. Watson has another intercept to add the exclamation mark on victory.
14th minute - Ekenasio extends the margin to five goals and surely they can't lose from here.
Wilson makes it six.
12th minute - Poi tries to pass back to Watson, misses her, but Fitzpatrick stretches to gather the loose ball.
Bassett can't catch the ball under goal and NZ have another turnover.
10th minute - Ferns have the centre pass advantage now and a two-goal lead. They need to compose themselves - Watson intercepts, Wilson scores.
On pass, Wilson scores and the margin is now four goals.
Eighth minute - Caitlin Bassett enters the game for the first time for Australia. Her knee is heavily bandaged.
Wilson extends the lead to two goals. Aussies guilty of a head-high tackle - literally.
Sixth minute - Ekenasio misses, but Wilson bounces her defender away from the rebound. Ekenasio rebounds and scores.
Weston comes back on the court for Price, her calf heavily bandaged. Winders forces a turnover and this is NZ's chance.
Wilson slots a goal to take the lead for the first time.
Fourth minute - Wilson levels the scores, but still Aussie centre pass.
Wow, it's physical in that Aussie shooting circle. Watson almost has an intercept, but Koenen scores.
Second minute - Aussies turn the ball over in their shooting circle, so this is the Ferns' chance to snatch a lead. Ekenaso rims one in to pull within one, the Ferns turn the ball over, but grab it back.
Passoff - No changes, Poi still at centre for NZ.
Third quarter (Australia 40-38)
Ferns have closed within two, with Wilson shooting 12/12 during that quarter. NZ shooting is on point tonight, but those turnovers...
14th minute - NZ need a turnover here and Watson claims one. Wilson slots a mid-range shot.
Wilson is warned for shouting after her shot - she seemed to be frustrated at what she thought was a miss. Weird call.
12th minute - Wilson passes to no-one at the attack end, gifting the Aussies another chance.
Koenen misses, Watson rebounds, NZ blow a chance to close the margin.
10th minute - Poi replaces Kersten at centre. Fitzpatrick steals the ball,but can't find a teammate with her off-balance pass.
Jane Watson is back on for Burger. Poi finds Ekenasio under goal and NZ close within two.
Eighth minute - Kirsten has a pass deflected in midcourt and Australia can really pull away here.
Diamonds score their fifth goal in a row.
Sixth minute - Wilson levels the scores, but Australia still hold the centre-pass advantage.
Ekenasio misses and Aussies have a chance to extend. Koenen obliges.
Fourth minute - Koenen with a rare miss and the Ferns have a chance to catch up here. Saunders finds Wilson on the baseline with a bounce pass and the margin is one, NZ ball.
Second minute - Saunders forces an interception and Ekenasio slots a long shot. NZ have three goals in a row to start the quarter.
Passoff - Kersten gets the third quarter underway from centre circle. Wilson narrows the margin.
Second quarter (Australia 29-24)
Diamonds won that quarter 15-13, but NZ only missed one attempt at goal, compared to five at the other end.
Again, turnovers are the big difference, with the Ferns conceding two more than their opponents.
First quarter - Bad turnover enables Australia to finish the quarter with four straight goals to stamp their authority.
14th minute - NZ defence are making Australia work hard to find the shooting circle, but at the other end, Wilson loses the ball over the baseline.
12th minute - Ferns now back within a goal, but playing catch-up. There's a fair bit of jostling in the NZ shooting circle, but Wilson is safe.
Shannon Saunders replaces Gina Crampton at wing attack.
10th minute - Wilson slots a goal with defendersd all around her and then the Aussie shooters turn the ball over. NZ can't capitalise.
The Ferns defence force another error - is this the chance? Wilsocn scores.
Eighth minute - Ferns turn the ball over with an errant centre pass and Koenen makes them pay.
Watson leaves the court for NZ, replaced by Burger.
Sixth minute - Wilson brings NZ within one goal, but the Kiwis need another turnover to seize the advantage back.
Fourth minute - Nice long pass from Ekenasio finds Wilson under goal. NZ defence force a miss from Koenen and here's a chance to catch up.
Second minute - NZ defence working hard and disrupt Koenen's long attempt, but they're called for contact and she makes no mistake second time.
Passoff - No changes, with Price still on court, replacing Jo Weston at wing defence. Australia extend their lead.
First quarter (Australia 14-11)
Great display of shooting from both teams, with Australia and NZ only missing once each over that opening quarter. The big difference - the Diamonds have had more opportunities from forcing more turnovers.
First quarter - Bad pass from Watson to Winders is intercepted and Australia have a chance to stretch the margin before the break. Austin obliges.
14th minute - Nice interpassing between Ekenasio and Wilson in the circle brings NZ within a goal again.
12th minute - Another Ferns error in midcourt gives their rivals a chance to extend the lead, but Winders again spoils possession.
Ekenasio brings NZ within one goal, but Jame-Lee Price comes on as a blood replacement for Australia. You'll remember her as daughter of former Warriors captain Steve Price.
10th minute - Ferns are starting to settle after a shaky start, they now hold an upper hand, with the Aussies playing catch-up.
That changes, as Wilson is penalised under goal and Australia take advantage.
Eighth minute - Winders steals the ball and Wilson levels the score, then takes a lead. NZ have scored the last five goals.
Sixth minute - Ferns finally force a turnover and Wilson narrows the margin to two, then one off their own centre pass.
Fourth minute - Diamonds defence force a turnover in the shooting circle and Austin capitalises at the other end. Koenan scores on the Aussie pass and the lead is four.
Second minute - Australia out to an instant two-goal lead, but Ekenasio gets NZ on the board with her first attempt.
Pass-off - New Zealand to pass off through Kersten. Ball is immediately turned over, not a good start.
4:05pm - Starting line-ups are in and Silver Ferns skipper Ameliaranne Ekenasio returns to the shooting circle. She was sorely missed two days ago.
Dame Noeline Taurua has reinstated the same players that started so well in the first test, with midcourt Kimiora Poi added to the bench, replacing rookie Maddy Gordon.
NZ: GS-Maia Wilson, GA-Ameliaranne Ekenasio, WA-Gina Crampton, C-Claire Kersten, WD-Sam Winders, GD-Jane Watson, GK-Sulu Fitzpatrick
Australia: GS-Cara Koenen, GA-Kiera Austin, WA-Liz Watson, C-Kate Moloney, WD-Jo Weston, GD-Courtney Bruce, GK-Sarah Klau
Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the third Constellation Cup test between New Zealand and Australia at Christchurch Arena.
With most of the country still at COVID-19 Alert Level 2, only be a small contingent of supporters - mainly friends and family - will attend the match.
The series is tied at 1-1, after the Diamonds levelled the series with a commanding performance on Wednesday
The home side started the series on fire, with a scintillating performance in their 49-44 win in the opening clash.
Skipper Ameliaranne Ekenasio is expected returns to the line-up, after resting a minor calf strain suffered in the closing stages of the opening test.
The Ferns are on the hunt for their first Constellation Cup series win since 2012 and a victory tonight would put them on the brink of that feat.
TAB odds: Silver Ferns: $1.70 Australia: $2.00
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua still confident, despite second-test drubbing
Somewhat surprisingly, Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua is unrepentent, despite her team's capitulation to Australia in their second Constellation Cup test at Christchurch.
Just 24 hours after running away with the series-opener, New Zealand quickly found themselves in a deep, early hole and staggered home 45-26 losers to the Diamonds, who brought a more physical approach to level the four-test contest at 1-1.
"I know this sounds terrible, but we're actually still quite confident," admits Taurua, who usually doesn't mince words in her post-game assessments. "We are disappointed, and we were outmuscled and outplayed in the first half, so we have total respect for the opposition.
"In saying that, we remain quite confident about what we do and how we do it. It's another day in the office and, for us, I always think it's about what's next that is the big decider as to how good an individual is or a team is.
"These next two days are important for us to regroup, analyse and get ready to hit that court again as ready as we can on Saturday."
The nine-goal deficit was probably flattering to the Kiwis, who conceded seven straight goals without response and trailled 15-6 after the opening quarter.
The deficit reached 15 goals (30-15) just before halftime, before the Ferns clawed back to within seven in the final moments of the contest, still well short of snatching victory.
With skipper Ameliaranne Ekenasio sidelined by a calf niggle, shooting depth was exposed, as Maia Wilson (32/38) was left to shoulder most of the scoring load.
The Aussies also outmatched their counterparts for sheer size under both goals and used their physicality to disrupt transition of the ball downcourt.
Dame Noeline confirms Ekenasio is expected to take the court for game three on Saturday, with the series finale scheduled for Sunday.