Susan Pratley, a Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder, was the leading scorer on the court when Australia defeated New Zealand 43-41 in the Second Test at the Brisbane Convention Centre last night.
Pratley potted 26 from 33 attempts as the Diamonds held off the Silver Ferns in a tense arm-wrestle in front of an 8000-strong crowd.
Kate Beveridge (17 from 23) was Australia’s other main contributor, while Maria Tutaia (21/22) and Irene Van Dyke (20/24) kept the Kiwis in the hunt.
Having won the First Test in Melbourne 46-41, New Zealand claimed the series on superior goal difference, but Australia maintain their world No.1 ranking.
Australia opened up a six-goal early break at 10-4, before the Ferns closed the gap to be within one a quarter time, 12-11.
Pratley led from the front, creating options in the goal circle to top Australia’s scoring with eight goals for the quarter.
Silver Ferns coach, Ruth Aitken switched experienced defender Sheryl Scanlan on to Pratley to match her court speed, but that allowed Beveridge to respond with a six-goal second quarter as the Diamonds led 23-21 at half-time.
Determined not to let their advantage slip, Australia countered every challenge by the Ferns in the third quarter and closed out the term ahead by 33-32.
Australia edged out to three at 38-35 early in the final term and, despite the sterling efforts of Van Dyke and Tutaia, the Australian defence squashed any chance of a fight-back as the Diamonds held on to win by two goals.
Second Test: Australia 43 (Susan Pratley SU 26/33, Kate Beveridge 17-23) d New Zealand 41 (Maria Tutaia 21/22, Irene Van Dyke 20/24) at Brisbane Convention Centre.