Crampton celebrates 100th match in style
Celebrating Gina Crampton’s 100 national league match, the Robinhood Stars continued their impressive start to the season with a comprehensive 57-43 win over The Good Oil Tactix in Auckland on Sunday.
It completed back-to-back wins for the Stars after the opening two rounds of the ANZ Premiership while consigning the Tactix to a second straight loss.
The Stars ground out a tight first half in the Anzac Day outing before bursting away in the second half, the Tactix unable to stay with the pace as the home side romped home in style with a strong second 30 minutes.
The Stars attack line found their feet in in the second half while getting all their squad on court during the match, captain Maia Wilson being the main beneficiary with a rewarding day under the hoop after producing a fine return of 40 goals from 45 attempts.
The Tactix have plenty to reflect on after losing their way in the second half, too many turnovers halting their flow as they remain winless in the current campaign.
With influential goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit remaining side-lined with injury, the tall figure of Jess Prosser got the nod in the starting seven for the Tactix, the Stars retaining their productive starting line-up of the first-round win.
The visitors were out of the blocks quickly before the Stars negated the Tactix early advantage during a fast-paced and actioned-filled opening stanza.
While the ball whistled in seamlessly into the sure hands of Wilson, the Tactix needed multiple phases and plenty of patience to get their possession circle-bound but it paid off handsomely as they remained in close contact.
Defensively, Elle Temu, for the Stars, and Karin Burger at the opposite end, were influential figures in picking off turnover ball as the home edged to a tight 13-11 lead at the first break.
The Tactix levelled up soon after the resumption, a goal-for-goal arm-wrestle ensuing before a heavy fall forced key shooter Ellie Bird to leave the court temporarily. The Stars took advantage of the disruption to push out to a four-goal lead.
But the visitors continued to scrap effectively, the dynamic defensive combination of Burger and Jane Watson helping the Tactix remain well in contention. Restored to full health, Bird returned to the court, the Stars hanging on in a frantic clash to consolidate a 23-20 lead at the main break.
The combined efforts from the defensive trio of Temu, Anna Harrison and Lisa Mather got the Stars away to a perfect start in the all-important third stanza. Their work helped shut down the Tactix offensive play as the home team pushed out their lead.
However, the individual exploits of Burger almost single-handedly kept the visitors in the race with her ability to create turnover opportunities.
The Stars responded in kind, finding their rhythm on attack with quick transitional play while Jamie Hume found her accuracy under the hoop to elevate the home team to a handy 39-31 lead at the last break.
The Stars introduced Oceane Maihi at goal defence for the run home with Harrison moving back to goalkeeper while their woes at the shooting end continued for the Tactix. Prosser was forced from the court with a bloodied nose, Hannah Glen taking her place as the Stars continued to extend their advantage.