The Tall Ferns played their second game at the Four Nations Tournament in Hengyang, China on Sunday night against Montenegro.
Following a mauling by China the previous evening the Kiwis gave a much improved display but still went down 71-61.
The Tall Ferns trailed 26-23 at half- time and although they were able to keep the margin close throughout the game they couldn't produce the consistent scoring effort required to carry them to a win.
Toni Edmondson led the Kiwi scoring with 16 points and Kalani Purcell, moved to the power forward position, was very effective with 14 points (5/7 FG) and a game high equaling 9 rebounds.
It was a response that Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama was looking for.
"Yesterday I challenged the team to improve in a number of areas and today they responded.
I think the next time we play Montenegro we can beat them but we will need to improve in our half court defence. We are still a little out of sync in a few areas, but time will fix these, and after only a week together I am already seeing progress," he said. One of the areas the team showed improvement was in the rebounding count leading the opposition 46-43.
Cantabrian guard Toni Edmondson led the Tall Ferns scoring effort and her form is delighting the coach.
"Toni was excellent for us today and showed some true leadership throughout the game. I've been super impressed with her growth in our programme over the last three years.
"We also had a number of players chipping in from Kalani (Purcell), Deena (Franklin) and Chevvy (Chevannah Paalvast). It's good to have more than one player contributing and that has to be our strength. We are hard to stop if we are all scoring threats.
"Tomorrow we play a very tough Czech Republic and will possibly have a player or two sitting out due to small day to day injuries that we need to manage," added Kereama.
18-year-old Katelin Noyer, who debuted against the Chinese, scored her first point in international basketball slotting home a free throw. The Waitakere Lady Rangers forward enjoyed six minutes of court time.
It doesn't get any easier for the Tall Ferns tonight when they face Czech Republic -ranked number five in the world.