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Failing to improve on last month's promising Quad Series five-goal loss to the Australian Diamonds, the Silver Ferns fell to a 57-42 defeat in Brisbane this afternoon.
Tipping off the Constellation Cup in style, however, the Ferns were level 10-all with the Diamonds after what looked a promising performance from the New Zealand side.
But that's when things fell apart.
Falling off the pace in dramatic fashion, the Ferns responded with their lowest quarter score (six) against the Aussie side in almost a decade.
Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman took responsibility for a weak midcourt performance which left the New Zealand shooters little opportunity to score.
Young goal shoot Aliyah Dunn became increasingly hesitant under the hoop during the second quarter after making her first starting seven appearance, before Maia Wilson struggled to make much difference in the second and third.
The Silver Ferns struggled to keep up with the pace and their rivals ultimately took control of the clash to storm ahead with a massive 17-goal lead.
Defensively, the Silver Ferns provided plenty of impetus with none better than the defensive pairing of Grant and Watson, who put the heat on Australia's shooters.
The defending duo grabbed a game-high four intercepts before Sulu Fitzpatrick took to the court in the final quarter for her first Silver Ferns appearance in seven years.
Meanwhile, veteran Maria Folau continued to lead her shooters with a decent 90 per cent performance, but it wasn't until coach Noeline Taurua called Te Paea Selby-Rickit on at goal attack in the final quarter that things started to shift.
Connections began to flow again and the Ferns' midcourt settled.
But it was too little too late to make back the hefty amount of lost ground.
The Ferns will face the Diamonds again on Wednesday night in Townsville for the second test of the Constellation Cup series.
Silver Ferns 42
Australian Diamonds 57