New Zealand Men 60
Silver Ferns 47
The hunt for a win over their male counterparts continues for the Silver Ferns.
In a scrappy match at Palmerston North's Fly Palmy Arena, the Ferns suffered a 60-47 loss to the New Zealand Men.
The Ferns' chances of a win appeared slim from the first quarter as they looked somewhat caught off-guard by their opponent's dominance.
The Men flew to a 12-4 lead, much thanks to shooter Junior Levi, who was on form under the hoop at 90.9 per cent accuracy and who also provided an easy rebound option for teammate Daniel Jefferies.
Defenders Jake Schuster and Joseph Tukaki kept Ferns goal shoot Maia Wilson out of her comfort zone within the circle while disrupting flow to captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio.
It called for a number of changes from Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua, who gave Grace Nweke the nod in her second match. The Ferns midcourt seemed to find Nweke easier, with the 1.93m teenager proving a stable target under the post.
After paying the price for not treasuring possession early in the contest, the Ferns slowed their game and weren't afraid to reset back to the transverse line. It worked, as the Ferns managed to close the gap slightly to only trail by five at halftime.
However, that patience dwindled while the NZ Men hit back with a strong second half.
Taurua made use of her bench again putting a number of combinations to the test. While some worked, others struggled, leaving plenty for the head coach to ponder ahead of next week's Taini Jamison series against England.
Speaking to Sky Sport after the match, Ekenasio said they know what they need to work on.
"We are disappointed; we got momentum in that second quarter but fell away at the end. They're an incredible team," she said. "We know this is the best game we can get to prepare for any international match, so I'm proud of all the girls but we still have a long way to go."
Earlier, New Zealand A defeated the New Zealand Under 21s 57-53 in a niggly match. New Zealand A shooter and player of the match Saviour Tui shot at 91 per cent, nailing 40 of 44 attempts.
The Silver Ferns play the Under 21s tomorrow night before Saturday's final.