From dazzling debut to key Diamonds defender
A YEAR ago Courtney Bruce was so nervous before playing England she was sick on the way to the game and can't remember a thing about her Australian debut.
On Wednesday a far more collected Bruce hopes to remember every detail of a match she says the Diamonds are determined to win "for pride" after their shock Commonwealth Games loss to England in May.
Now an 18-Test veteran of the Diamonds, Bruce, 24, is also a regular starter for the Diamonds defence.
But a year ago she was so shocked when she heard she was to take the court for Australia she was physically sick.
A dream debut where she collected five intercepts, eight deflections and four rebounds earned her the MVP award - none of which she can remember.
"I played the full game against England and got the MVP and don't remember a single thing about it. It was a complete blur," she said.
"I remember being sick on the way to game and seeing my parents afterwards.
"I can't believe that was just a year ago. It's crazy."
In between, Australia fell 51-52 to England in the gold medal decider at the Commonwealth Games with Wednesday's game the first opportunity they have to avenge the loss.
"Everyone is excited to get out there. Every game has a lot of meaning but with this one there is more passion and fire behind it," Bruce said.
"We have done a lot of video analysis and research on them.
"There is pride on the line for us. The Commonwealth Games hurt. Losing sucks."
And while it was five months ago, Australian coach Lisa Alexander says the Diamonds Commonwealth Games loss to England has been "eating away" at the team.
Avenging the loss and retaining their world No. 1 ranking are of paramount importance to the Diamonds during the current Quad series which pits Australia against England on Wednesday and then New Zealand on Sunday.
"There is extra fire in the belly," said Alexander who recently signed a contract extension to lead the Diamonds post next year's World Cup in the U.K.
"It has been eating away at all of us to get out there and play against them again."
AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND: Wednesday, 7.30pm, Newcastle Entertainment Centre