One quarter the difference as Kiwis win

NEW Zealand has opened its Constellation Cup campaign in the ideal way, defeating South Africa 61-41. In what was a largely even game, the third quarter was ultimately the difference as the Silver Ferns blew open the game during the quarter.

It was tight as it could get to begin proceedings with the teams trading blows, but it was the Kiwis who were the first to pinch a goal off the opposition centre pass. That interception really got things going for the Silver Ferns as they went on a seven goals to none run to open things up early.

The SPAR Proteas then woke up and after a run and managed to reduce the margin back down to four, but as the seconds ticked down to quarter time they were unable to fully bridge the gap and went into the first break four goals down.

The second quarter was characterised by both sides getting a run of multiple goals in a row, but no side was able to get more than three goals in a row and both sides had multiple runs, so the margin did not move very much. In the end the Kiwis won the quarter by the smallest of margins, and went into the main break with a five-goal lead as opposed to a four-goal one.

New Zealand made a few personnel changes at the main break, and the resulting quarter from the Silver Ferns would have no doubt brought the biggest smile to the face of coach Dame Noeline Taurua.

The third quarter was where things truly opened up for New Zealand. New Zealand started the quarter scoring 11 goals to two and never looked back at the South Africans really struggled to keep up.

Not even bringing on Ine-Mari Venter could help the South Africans, as the Silver Ferns outscored their opponents by 15 goals for the quarter to blow open the game, and so at the final change the lead was out to 20 goals.

Things did even up again in the final quarter, but the SPAR Proteas still failed to eat into New Zealand’s lead. South Africa was its own worst enemy at times, though both teams ultimately scored 11 goals each to see the final margin at 20 goals.

Grace Nweke was the key under the ring for New Zealand, outscoring the entire South African team and only missing two shots for the game. Through the midcourt, Kate Heffernan nabbed four intercepts and four gains, while Elisapeta Toeava (25 feeds, 16 assists) was industrious out at wing attack.

Meanwhile for the South Africans Lenize Potgieter only missed one shot for the game, but was not able to shoot anywhere near as much as her Kiwi counterparts. Captain Bongi Msomi was also industrious out at wing attack, finishing with 27 feeds and 14 assists.

SOUTH AFRICA   11 | 14 | 5 | 11 (41)
NEW ZEALAND   15 | 15 | 20 | 11 (61)


South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgeiter
GA: Nichole Taljaard
WA: Bongiwe Msomi
C: Khanyisa Chawane
WD: Shadine van der Merwe
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

New Zealand

GS: Grace Nweke
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Gina Crampton
C: Whitney Souness
WD: Kate Heffernan
GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Kelly Jury

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