Magic vs Stars
MVP: Gina Crampton.
Both the Magic and Stars were missing key players when they set out on the court on Saturday afternoons at Globox Arena in Hamilton. Storm Purvis played her 100th game after being called in as a replacement player for Anna Harrison. The first quarter was full of great moments, putting together a very fluid quarter from both teams. Erena Mikaere was able to tip away a key deflection with seconds to go in the opening term. The Magic went into the quarter time break ahead by three – 15-12.
To bring the score back to even the Stars’ needed to capitalise on their possessions but even with the wealth of work their midcourters were doing, they found it difficult to convert these gains. The Magic were able to extend their lead out to four but a swing in momentum to the advantage of the Stars had them draw the lead back to two. The Stars shaved one goal off the Magic’s lead, but going into half time the Magic still led 31-29 with both Silver Ferns shooters Maia Wilson and Ameliaranne Ekenasio with above 90% averages.
It was a huge third quarter for the Stars, they were able to steal the lead off of the Magic. The Stars took advantage of the turnovers they were able to create due to the stagnancy in the Magic attacking end while Maia Wilson was able to turn and shoot from distance and under the post. The Stars went into the final quarter with a seven-goal lead.
In the final quarter, the Stars extended their lead out to a ten goal advantage early. Holly Fowler was doing a wealth of work on the attack but was also able to win the ball throughout the court. Although it was a losing game for the Magic they were able to showcase their star-studded shooting circle of Bailey Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio. Maia Wilson was able to play with comfort and confidence – which showed in the final result of the game. The Stars took bragging rights over the Magic, winning, 67-53.
Tactix vs Mystics
MVP: Peta Toeava.
It was only a week prior that the Mystics took on the Tactix, this time it was on the Tactix home turf at Christchurch Arena in Christchurch. In the game’s early stages, the Tactix struggled to penetrate through the centre third. Peta Toeava was able to use her speed and flare to feed Grace Nweke and Monica Faulkner with accuracy and ease. The Mystics led going into the first quarter break, 18-13.
Karin Burger went out hunting for possession to bring her team back into the game with three unanswered goals to start the second quarter. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was a workhorse doing a lot of playmaking out of the circle and putting up a high volume of goals for a goal attack. The Mystics led going into the second half, 34-30.
The Tactix opened the third quarter with a massive gain off Grace Nweke. They then went on a run of three goals. The Mystics then went on a run of their own, able to turn over the Tactix centre pass. Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick were able to force Ellie Bird to shoot from mid-range. Karin Burger was able to pick up another key gain for her team.
The Mystics led at three-quarter time 51-47. The Mystics dominated the final quarter of the game. They were able to use their speed and control to dominate the home side. With about three minutes to go in the final quarter, the Mystics’ star shooter Grace Nweke went down with an ankle injury and was helped off the court. The Mystics were able to remain calm and won the match 69-58.
Tactix vs Steel
MVP: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
The Tactix had only played less than 24 hours prior to their game against the Southern Steel at Christchurch Arena in Christchurch. It was a very even opening half of the quarter for the game, with neither team able to break away. It was the Steel who were able to gain a lead, with the help of Renee Savai’inaea and Kate Burley. The Steel went into the first break 17-13.
An error-filled second quarter allowed Steel to take the lead from Tactix through applying full court defence and backing up their pressure with precious tips and deflections. Smart and patient play by the Steel attacking end, led by Shannon Saunders, aided their dominant first half of the game. The Steel went into the halftime break only ahead by two goals (30-28) due to a defensive surge from the Tactix late in the first half.
After a slow and messy first 25 minutes of the game, the Tactix really found their rhythm and connections in the third quarter. Te Paea Selby-Rickit injected herself into the game, using her smart read of the game and showcased her connection with Ellie Bird. With seconds on the clock, Karin Burger biffed the ball into Bird to level the scores at three-quarter time, 45 a-piece.
The game between the two Southern teams was a real tale of two halves. Kimiora Poi was able to come up with two huge gains and followed them with perfect placement into Ellie Bird. With seven minutes to go, the Tactix had scored four goals in a row before their momentum was halted by the blood rule, pausing the game momentarily. Ellie Bird had a strong aerial game and presented great angles, allowing for an easy feed into her. The Tactix had incredible accuracy, shooting at 95% across the whole match. It was the Tactix’ second half that allowed them to get the win over the Steel 61-56.
Pulse vs Stars
MVP: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
There was a clear intensity in this match as both teams were making a bid for finals. The Stars were still missing Anna Harrison- for this game, so Leana DeBruin came in as cover. Both Maddy Gordon and Gina Crampton were backing up from MVP performances. Yet it was the Stars who went into the quarter time break leading the Pulse by two goals, 12-10.
In quarter two the Stars were able to apply pressure all over the court, forcing and capitalising on turnovers created. Kelly Jury’s defensive pressure allowed for Pulse to take the lead and hold onto the lead two minutes before halftime. The Stars scored back to back and nothing could separate the two sides going into the halftime break, 23-23.
The Stars got back out to their two-goal advantage throughout the third quarter. Going into the final quarter the Stars led, 36-34. The Stars went on a run on four goals, allowing them to gain a slight advantage and momentum.
In the final quarter, the Stars got out to their biggest lead of the game – four goals. Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was calm and reliable on the attack. In the Stars’ defensive end, Elle Temu and Holly Fowler had outstanding performances, they were able to get their hands to many intercepts and deflections. It was a low scoring affair when the Pulse took on the Stars, the Stars swinging 49-44.
Mystics vs Magic
MVP: Erena Mikaere
It was the Magic who had the better of the opening term of the game. Without Grace Nweke for the game, Filda Vui and Monica Faulkner needed to step up in her absence. Vui took a large volume of the playmaking and shooting load. While Sulu Fitzpatrick led by example from the opening minute of the game, possessing six gains at halftime. In the second quarter, the Magic were able to lead until two minutes until halftime, the Mystics drew level.
The Mystics were able to break away from the Magic by four goals, off the back of some wonderful defensive work by Phoenix Karaka and Fitzpatrick. Vui was able to steal an intercept off the transverse line and the Mystics burnt the Magic with their speed down the court. However, the Magic were not going down without a fight and were able to close the four-goal gap down to two going into the final quarter.
The Mystics were out to a very slim one-goal lead halfway through the final quarter. An offensive contact on Peta Toeava, allowed the Magic to score the final three goals of the game. The bottom of the table Magic side collected their second win of the season and second win against the Mystics this season. The Magic defeated the Mystics 48-47.
Magic vs Steel
MVP: George Fisher
It was a round five rescheduled game that had the Magic playing three games in six days and what a game this was. The Steel had the better of the opening minutes of the game, breaking away to a 3-0 lead. It was a physical battle between Erena Mikaere and George Fisher. The Magic were able to run level with the Steel for the first quarter, The scores at quarter-time were 14-14.
It remained a tight battle over the second quarter, The Steel had to be patient to pass through the intense defensive pressure that the Magic had created. The Magic had disappointing shooting statistics with both shooters combining for a total of 75%. Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit came up with critical and crafty intercepts at the perfect moment to keep the scores level at halftime – 26 – 26.
Selby-Rickit and Burley were able to take front space causing the Magic to use resets in order to feed their shooters. Saviour Tui re-entered the game in the third quarter and was able to use crafty court work to cut in front of the defenders and shoot under the post. The Steel broke away to a five-goal lead in the third quarter but the Magic were able to level the score up. The scores remained level going into the final quarter – 38-38.
The fourth quarter started off goal-for-goal. We saw the combination between Bailey Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio grow as the game went on, which is a positive sign for the Magic moving forward. It came down to the final minute of the game, the Steel won the Wednesday night clash against the Magic, 51-49.
Categories: ANZ Premiership