7 Mar 2021

Silver Ferns storm to Constellation Cup win

5:38 am on 7 March 2021

A barnstorming final quarter from the Silver Ferns has earned them a 55-49 win over Australia in the third Constellation Cup test in Christchurch.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio (left) and Courtney Bruce

Ameliaranne Ekenasio (left) and Courtney Bruce Photo: Photosport

New Zealand now lead the four-match series 2-1, and need to win tomorrow's final match to lift the Constellation Cup for the first time in nine years.

If Australia win by two goals or more, they will retain the trophy.

The government's announcement of a shift in Covid-19 alert levels means the game will be played in front of a sell-out crowd.

The Silver Ferns trailed for all but the final nine minutes of today's match, with Australia leading 14-11 after 15 minutes and 29-24 at halftime.

The New Zealanders lifted in the third stanza, with the introduction of Kimiora Poi at centre providing extra spark and speed, but still trailed by two at the three-quarter mark.

But goal defence Jane Watson grabbed a key turnover with less than nine minutes remaining, and the Silver Ferns pounced.

Their through-court pressure and excellent circle defence forced a flurry of mistakes from the Diamonds, and the Ferns went on to run away with the final quarter 17-9.

The return of Ameliaranne Ekenasio at goal attack was a crucial component in the win, the skipper missing the second match as a precaution after a minior calf injury.

Her combination with Maia Wilson in the circle was outstanding, and their accuracy under huge pressure was impressive.

Wilson shot 41 from 43, and her calmness - especially in a frantic final quarter - was impressive.

Ekenasio was also a constant presence, efficient as a link between the midcourt and the shooting circle, and sinking 14 of her 17 shots on goal.