Diamonds out to tie up Constellation Cup

The Diamonds are eyeing better conversion and a sharper start as they aim to bounce back from a first-up Constellation Cup humbling by New Zealand.

Australia are back in action in Tauranga on Sunday for the second instalment in a four-game series with the Silver Ferns.

Game one was decided early when New Zealand blitzed Australia with a 11-straight run for their best first quarter in trans-Tasman history.

While Stacey Marinkovich's side won the second and third quarters, easing the deficit in the last to just three goals, the early gap proved too much.

"The start was sublime," Noeline Taurua said of her side, who led 20-9 at the first break before taking a 56-48 win.

Hidden within the Kiwis early dominance is one statistic to give the Diamonds hope: they had the same number of shots - 61 - so if Australia can fix their shooting, they can tie up the series.

"We were slow to start but then I think we started to get some confidence and get the momentum," Marinkovich said.

"This group is very good at bouncing back and learning."

Australia's problem and solution may run through one position: goal attack.

While Cara Koenan was superb at shooter, hitting 21 of 22, the absence of regular GA Gretal Bueta to maternity leave was deeply felt.

Replacements Kiera Austin shot 9 of 14 and Steph Wood shot 11 of 16.

Marinkovich said her team, which did not play New Zealand on the way to winning the Commonwealth Games gold, needed to adjust to the unique brand of Kiwi defence.

"We haven't played New Zealand in a while. Adapting to the offline defence ... we can certainly rectify that," she said.

"We really do trust our game plan. We're not changing a huge amount. We just need to adapt and shift with what's in front of us."

While New Zealand are the holders of the Constellation Cup, another Australian loss in New Zealand won't be terminal to hopes of winning the trophy back.

If the series is tied at 2-2 it will come down to goal percentage, leaving return matches in Melbourne and Gold Coast next week live.