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Second-quarter blitz sets up netball win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/09/2016 Cathy Walshe

Ta Paea Selby-Rickit of New Zealand shoots during the International Test match between the New Zealand Silver Ferns and Jamaica. © Simon Watts/Getty Images) Ta Paea Selby-Rickit of New Zealand shoots during the International Test match between the New Zealand Silver Ferns and Jamaica. The Silver Ferns have stormed to a 66-38 win over Jamaica, setting up the emphatic win with a second-quarter blitz at Rotorua's Energy Event Centre.

The manner of the win was always going to be more important than the margin.

Stung by a first-up 38-goal defeat in Nelson, the Jamaicans were more competitive in Palmerston North but the Silver Ferns still racked up a 23-goal win.

They were pushed mightily in the first quarter on Saturday, Jamaica tightening their through-court defence to disrupt New Zealand's rhythm and flow into the shooting circle.

On attack, Jamaica's aerial, physical style kept the Silver Ferns half a step behind, Shantal Slater and Shanice Beckford responding with a superb 100 per cent shooting conversion rate.

It wasn't quite enough to give them the lead at the first break, Te Paea Selby-Rickit sinking two late goals in the last 40 seconds to level the scores at 13-13.

The second spell was a different story. New Zealand's midcourt stepped up, creating more options and firing the ball into the shooting circle with increasing confidence.

Selby-Rickit complemented her work up court with a 13 goals from 14 attempts, and centre Shannon Francois showed excellent vision with some finely placed long-range feeding.

Defensively, skipper Katrina Grant and rookie keeper Jane Watson dominated the circle but it was the work further up the court which set up the deflections and intercepts.

Jamaica were starved of ball, restricted to nine shots on goal, while Bailey Mes and Selby-Rickit converted 22 of their 26 attempts to put the game beyond doubt with a 34-20 halftime lead.

New Zealand coach Janine Southby brought on goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio at the break, and the Silver Ferns machine rolled on remorselessly in taking the spell 15-8 to lead 50-28 at the three-quarter mark.

Ekenasio was joined by Central Pulse teammate Maia Wilson at goal shoot for the final spell, the rookie combination slotting in smoothly as New Zealanders shut out the final quarter 16-10.

All four New Zealand shooters were clinical, Mes sinking 25 from 28, while Selby-Rickit finished with 18 from 21, Ekenasio 13 from 15, and Wilson 10 from 11.

The Silver Ferns have three weeks to regather before their four-Test Constellation Cup series against Australia.

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