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Diamonds open campaign with crushing win

Cara Koenen and Kiera Austin helped the Diamonds shoot at 92 per cent in an 86-30 win over Zimbabwe

Cara Koenen and Kiera Austin helped the Diamonds shoot at 92 per cent in an 86-30 win over Zimbabwe Photo: AAP

Australia’s Diamonds have outshone Zimbabwe’s Gems to score a crushing 86-30 win on the opening day of the netball World Cup in Cape Town.

Australia’s pressure and shooting accuracy proved too much for world No.13 Zimbabwe.

The Diamonds scored at least 20 goals in each quarter and kept the opposing shooters to collectively just over 70 per cent.

The Diamonds shot 92 per cent with Cara Koenen (29 from 30) leading the way with good support from Sophie Garbin. (27/30), Kiera Austin (18/20) and Steph Wood (12/13).

Coach Stacey Marinkovich gave all 12 players a run, as the No.1 world-ranked Diamonds dominated after taking a few minutes to really assert themselves.

Koenen scored the first two goals of the match, but Zimbabwe notched the next three for their only lead of the game.

“We did have a slow start, we haven’t played Zimbabwe in a long time, so it was getting used to tiger style and trying to work them out,”

Australian goal keeper and player-of-the-match Courtney Bruce told Fox Sports

“I’m happy with how we pushed on and finished that game.”

Bruce snaffled three of her four intercepts before quarter-time as Australia found their rhythm.

The Diamonds scored five in a row to lead 15-7 and by nine at quarter time.

Australia outscored the African nation 21-7 in the second quarter to lead 41-18 at halftime.

The second half was even more one-sided, with Australia taking the third quarter 21–6 and the fourth 24-6.

The margin of 56 goals was 19 better than Australia achieved in their previous clash with Zimbabwe at the last World Cup four years ago.

Marinkovich opted for an experienced starting seven, featuring established club combinations in both circles.

The West Coast Fever duo of Bruce and Sunday Aryang started at the back with the Sunshine Coast Lightning pairing of Koenen and Wood given the initial shooting duties.

Marinkovich rejigged her side at halftime, introducing defenders Sarah Klau and Jo Weston, midcourter Jamie-Lee Price and shooters Austin and Garbin, and switching Bruce from goal keeper to wing defence.

“Its nice to get out here, get that first game out of the way and have everyone out on court and put out a really solid game in the end,” Diamonds captain Liz Watson said.

The midcourt stalwart demonstrated her commitment by inadvertently crashing into a camera operator, collecting a few scratches and needed some strapping.

Defending world champions and world No.2 ranked New Zealand started their campaign with a 76-27 win over Trinidad & Tobago.

The Diamonds play their next game on Saturday against Tonga, whose assistant coach is dual NSW Swifts Super Netball winning mentor Briony Akle with a squad which includes former Diamonds star Mo’onia Gerrard.

— AAP

Topics: Diamonds
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