The NZ Tall Ferns have put their Olympic campaign back on track with a 68-58 victory over African champions Angola at Suzhou, China.
Trailing by 12 points at halftime, the women's national basketball team seized momentum after the restart, outscoring their rivals 22-7 in the third quarter and 42-20 over the second half.
"Once again, we got off to a slow start, but after a change-up in defence, we forced them to turn the ball over a considerable amount of times," said head coach Kennedy Kereama. "We forced them into taking shots as the shot clock wound down and managed to only give them six offensive rebounds, limiting their second-chance opportunities."
Kereama had challenged his players after their previous performance - a limp 64-72 loss to Australia's Emerging Opals 24 hours earlier - and got the response he was hoping for.
Angola have already qualified for the London Olympics with their victory at the continental championship and victory over them gives the NZ campaign some credibility.
"They're a team that demand respect on the floor due to their physical stature, athleticisim and hardness," observed Kereama. "They're all extremely quick, can all jump and don't shy away from a physical battle."
Offensively, Natalie Taylor led her team with 19 points and Micaela Cocks had 13.
"But the most pleasing thing was that every player on the floor contributed and we had some great contributions from our youngest players, Jordan Hunter and Erin Rooney. They made their presence felt at the defensive end, where they put their bodies on the line, took charges, rebounded and won us important possessions."
American-born Casey Lockwood also provided a spark off the bench with her four points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
"It's fair to say, after yesterday, we challenged the players on a lot of things and we were extremely happy to see the response," said Kereama. "Beating a team that has qualified for the Olympics sends a pretty good message."
The result was the Ferns' first win of their China tour after losses to the young Aussies and the host team. All four teams will now travel to Changzhou for another round of games and the Kiwis have two more outings against China "B", before heading to Turkey for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament later this month.
There, they face 11 other teams from around the world, vying for the final five spots in the London draw.
NZ Tall Ferns 68 (Natalie Taylor 19, Micaela
Cocks 13, Lisa Wallbutton 12)