Stars repel spirited Tactix to notch second win of season
Shooting returns proved the difference when the Northern Stars clinched a hard-fought 49-44 win over the Silvermoon Tactix to complete an entertaining second Super Sunday of the ANZ Premiership.
It was a well-merited second win for the new Stars entity while the Tactix produced their most encouraging outing of the season, clinching their first point of the league in the process, courtesy of finishing within five goals.
The Stars greater experience proved the key despite losing Kayla Cullen for two minutes late in the piece, the athletic midcourter becoming the first player to be suspended in the league this season for repeated infringing.
The battle delivered an entertaining spectacle, the combatants matching the desperation for points with an attitude to match.
The Tactix put a tumultuous week behind them after the resignation of coach Sue Hawkins last week with a spirited account, staying in the contest throughout and making sure they played their part in an absorbing contest.
It was a slow and low scoring first quarter, defence dictating proceedings as both teams were guilty of turnovers early on.
Stars captain Leana de Bruin led by example, the veteran defender producing an effective opening to block off the front of the Tactix shooting circle while getting her hand to numerous deflections.
Temalisi Fakahokotau was having a similar influence at the other end, the athletic Tactix defender ensuring her team stayed in the hunt with a forceful presence.
Lagging on the scoreboard, the introduction of England import Kadeen Corbin changed the Tactix fortunes, her movement, variety and height in the shooting circle closing the Stars lead to a narrow 11-10 at the first break.
The Tactix made a strong start on the resumption, Fakahokotau’s ability in the air snaffling two quick intercepts before the Stars responded through stalwart de Bruin as the South Auckland-based team quickly built a five-goal buffer.
That was well-supported by teenaged shooter Maia Wilson who showed her form under the hoop to keep the Stars’ noses in front.
However, rotating their shooters paid dividends for the Tactix, the re-introduction of the playmaking Anna Thompson complementing the athletic ability of Corbin, who delivered a strong performance as they produced a purple passage to eat away at the deficit, leaving the teams locked up at 22-all at the main break.
With their confidence at an all-time high, the Tactix worked their way into a handy five-goal lead during the third stanza but that effort was ultimately unhinged by a lack of consistency and reckless turnovers.
With de Bruin again to the fore and the shooting duo of Wilson and the athletic Malia Vaka producing superior finishing, the Stars were able to reel in their opponents. Missed shots proved costly for the Tactix, the Stars having no such problems as their momentum ensured a 36-31 lead at the last break.