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Jamaica improve, but Ferns too strong

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/09/2016 Cathy Walshe

Bruised by a 38-goal hammering in Nelson three days ago, Jamaica restored some pride with a grittier showing, but still lost 61-38 to the Silver Ferns in Palmerston North on Wednesday.

The Jamaicans couldn't deliver the consistency they needed across four quarters, but were competitive until the final quarter, when New Zealand outscored them 19-9.

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby said the Sunshine Girls had delivered a much more physcial approach.

"Credit to Jamaica, they brought their A game tonight, and certainly challenged us, particularly on attack," she said.

"It did take us quite a long time to adjust - I think we recognised it, we just didn't adapt as well as we could have.

"We need to keep working on the ability to go to Plan B if Plan A isn't working."

Jamaica coach Minneth Reynolds was happier with her team's effort, particularly after their meek capitulation in Nelson.

"It was a much-improved performance. We were working on penetrating the New Zealand defence, as well as trying to limit their movement on attack," she said.

"But we need to be more consistent."

The Jamaicans came out with much more intensity at Arena Manawatu, looking to slow New Zealand's pacy midcourt with a more aggressive defence.

It took a five-goal run gave the Silver Ferns a 14-9 lead at the first break, a margin they extended to 29-16 through a scrappy second quarter.

Southby replaced Te Paea Selby-Rickit with Ameliaranne Ekenasio in the third quarter, but the rangy goal attack was off her best in sinking eight from 12 for the spell and was replaced for the final quarter.

Selby-Rickit completed her game with figures of 27 from 38, with Mes sinking 23 from 28 and 18-year-old rookie Maia Wilson three from four after she made her international debut for the final four minutes.

Southby again mixed up her midcourt combinations, starting 136-Test veteran Laura Langman at wing defence and Shannon Francois at centre for the first 30 minutes.

Langman returned to centre and Kayla Cullen took over at wing defence for the second half, but the new combinations took time to find their rhythm and timing.

Jamaica were quick to capitalise, levelling the quarter 13-13 to give the Silver Ferns a 42-29 lead with 15 minutes remaining.

The goals began to pile up again in the final quarter, the New Zealanders taking the spell 19-9 to secure a flattering win.

The final match is in Rotorua on Saturday.

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