An Australian netball legend's agony and then ecstasy has facilitated the rebirth of a shooter who's inherited new mother Sharelle McMahon's trait of leaving the Silver Ferns heartbroken.
Caitlin Bassett wears a different bib to the former national captain but there are similarities, notably her world championship-winning goal during extra time in Singapore last year.
In 1999 at Christchurch it was the youthful McMahon who made the decisive attempt to claim the title for Australia and thanks to her career-threatening Achilles injury and pregnancy Bassett has assumed the mantle of the Ferns' tormentor in chief.
Not content to play a pivotal role in Australia retaining their world crown the statuesque 1.92-metre goal shoot also provided a significant point of difference during last October's Constellation Cup where she came off the bench at halftime during the decider in Melbourne and helped transform a six-goal deficit into a 44-41 triumph.
Bassett returns to Hisense Arena tomorrow intent on delivering another commanding performance in the opening test of the 2012 series.
The 24-year-old made her test debut in 2008 under Norma Plummer's reign but it proved a fleeting exposure to the top flight - leading into the world championships she had only five caps as McMahon, Cath Cox, Natalie Medhurst and Susan Pratley were the preferred options.
McMahon's ruptured Achilles and Pratley's form slump provided Bassett with an opening and despite a question mark over her temperament the West Coast Fever star was an inspired choice for Singapore.
Bassett maintained her composure in the final second over overtime to secure a 58-57 victory. She shot 90 per cent in the decider and missed only four of 155 attempts throughout the tournament.
"It was the highlight of my career so far, it was a real confidence booster to be able to get out there in a big game and be able to perform well," she said ahead of her 17th test.
Bassett maintained her form during this year's trans-Tasman competition.
She was fourth most prolific shooter and had the same ranking for accuracy (88.3 per cent) to place her behind Cathrine Latu, Irene Van Dyk and Donna Wilkins among players with more than 300 goals.
Plummer may not have rated her highly when national coach but the wily mentor has been a great source of support at club level.
"I only really cracked the Aussie team when Norma was finishing off but to have her fulltime at the Fever is great. She's got so much knowledge - I take away so much from every single session I do with her," Bassett said.
Cox has also been invaluable since her move from the Swifts although the 98-test veteran had to switch to the unfamiliar role of goal attack and they are now in competition.
"Her experience ... she's such a good leader. I've been learning from her on and off the court. The way she goes about things is very professional. I look up to her a lot."
Bassett is also has a lot of time for her Kiwi opponents, especially Leana de Bruin and captain Casey Williams.
"I usually have Leana against me but Casey reads the play so well and really lifts her team.
"We go into the game confident but a strength of New Zealand is how their defenders work as a group."
Williams was also complimentary about Bassett, who she considered the most improved of Australia's five-pronged shooting arsenal.
"We know she's got stronger, she more mobile and more confident on her shot," Williams said, before adding the rider:
"We've got a few ways to combat that, everyone has weaknesses."
- (Live Matches)