Stars vs Tactix
MVP: Elle Temu
The Stars got their long-awaited return to Pullman Arena in Auckland when they took on the Tactix in a rescheduled game from earlier in the season.
The Tactix came flying out of the blocks to start the game, being able to turn over the first two of the Stars’ centre passes but the Stars were able to answer back and went on a run of their own. The Tactix defenders were able to cause chaos in the shooting circle of the Stars, although the Stars were able to remain calm amongst this chaos. The Tactix went into the second quarter with a single goal lead – 14-13.
The Stars came out firing in the second quarter, with Anna Harrison gaining a momentum-shifting intercept early. There were small swings of momentum throughout the second quarter, with no team able to break away until late in the quarter when the Stars put on an intense defence and the Tactix struggled to break through to circle edge. The Stars led 29-27 going into the halftime break.
The Stars started the second half as they finished the first – with high energy and strong defensive pressure. For the Tactix, not only was Karin Burger in amongst everything defensively, she was having to do a wealth of work bringing the ball down the court on attack. As the Tactix levelled the scores up at 37 a-piece, Jamie Hume returned to the court in goal attack. The Stars went into the final quarter leading by two with the scores at 40-38.
The Stars were able to put together some classy passages of play to allow them to break away to a four-goal lead early in the final term. Jamie Hume put on a long bomb masterclass, sinking shots from all over the circle. The Tactix struggled with the attacking connections and found it hard to find their shooters in the circle. Down the other end of the court, the Stars’ attacking end was firing, able to find their shooters with ease and accuracy. The Tactix let the Stars extend their winning margin to eight goals. The Stars took home the three points, winning against the Tactix, in their first home game of the season 56-48.
Pulse vs Tactix
MVP: Paris Lokotui
This game was the battle of the accurate shooter. Going into Round 7 – the Pulse were the most accurate team shooting at 90% but the Tactix were the second most accurate team in the competition sitting at 87.5% for the season to date. The Pulse took on the Tactix at TSB Bank Arena in Wellington.
The opening quarter of the game was messy with plenty of turnovers between both teams. Neither team was able to find their rhythm and settle into the game. With five minutes left in the first quarter, Karin Burger did what she does best and secured her team two huge intercepts. Though the Pulse was able to answer these intercepts with goals of their own and went into the first quarter break one-up on the scoreboard.
The Pulse started the second quarter as they finished the first – with dominance. The Tactix were left struggling to find their rhythm and path to goal. The Pulse pulled away and grew the gap to five goals. As the Pulse became comfortable in the game, plenty of changes were made which sparked changes in the Tactix team. With Kate Lloyd entering the team and forcing Karin Burger into wing defence, Charlotte Elley into centre whilst captain Kimiora Poi moved into wing attack.
In the second half of the game, the Tactix struggled to penetrate through the defence that the Pulse was putting on. The defensive zone that the Pulse created, caused headaches for the Tactix mid-court. The Pulse went into the final quarter with a 39-33 lead over the Tactix.
The Tactix were able to stay within striking distance from the Pulse throughout the first three-quarters of the game. The Pulse’s dominance in the final quarter allowed them to extend their lead and deny the Tactix a bonus point. The Pulse defeated the Tactix 58-41. The Pulse had a dominant fourth quarter, which locked in their win over the Trident Homes Tactix 58-41.
Mystics vs Stars
MVP: Phoenix Karaka
The Mystics took on the Stars at the Trusts Arena in Auckland. Although winning back the ball, the Stars were unable to capitalise on the turnovers that they won. This was not the case for the Mystics though, their defenders were able to win back the ball but they were able to capitalise on their gains. The Mystics’ defenders’ dominance allowed the Mystics to go into the first break leading 16-9.
The Stars’ defenders threw all the tricks at the Mystics’ shooting circle, the fans got to see a Harrison Hoist to try and put Nweke off her shot. Yet the Mystics proved they were stronger getting out to a twelve goal lead and it was wayward passing in the centre third and inaccurate shooting that hindered the Star’s effort to put scoreboard pressure on the Mystics.
Going into half-time the Mystics had extended their lead to 14-goals beating the Stars, 32-18. Coming out of the halftime break, the Stars treasured their time in possession, showing a more direct and accurate path to post. They also put out a very mobile shooting circle in the final quarter with Amorangi Malesala and Jamie Hume. This confused the Mystics’ defence and they were often caught behind the 8-ball but they were still able to dominate down the other end. The Stars were unable to chase down the huge lead that the Mystics created with the 1st game ending 68-44 in the Mystics’ favour.
Stars vs Pulse
MVP: Aliyah Dunn
The third game in 7 days for the Stars after COVID rattled the team earlier in the season, was against the in-form Pulse who made the trip up north to Auckland to play out the round one game.
The Pulse stamped their authority on the game early as they picked up four gains although the Stars were able to answer this as the quarter went on, drawing back the Pulse’s early two-goal lead. The Pulse injected Maddy Gordon into the game early in Centre and with some creative defensive pressure were able to force wayward passes from the Stars late in the first quarter. The Pulse led going into the first break of the game – 14-9.
Jamie Hume was brought on in Goal Attack to start the second quarter. Hume was able to have an impact right away, gaining a deflection and shooting confidently from distance. Although, the Pulse carried on as they did in the first quarter, scoring off the Stars’ first centre pass.
The wall of yellow was hard to penetrate. Even when Elle Temu came out flying for two deflections in a row, they were both collected by Pulse players. The Pulse flew through the court in their transition play but we were also able to show patience when the Stars put on smothering defensive pressure. The Pulse went into the main break, leading by eight – 28-20.
In fabulous fashion, Pulse was able to stun the Stars again, turning over yet another first centre pass of the quarter. (just as they had done in the first two quarters). Throughout the third quarter, they kept up their strong defensive pressure and in particular confusing the space in the circle to feed doubt into the minds of the feeders. Kelly Jury and Kristina Manu’a showed how strong they were as a defensive pairing – backing each other up and working seamlessly to win possession for the Pulse pulling away in the third quarter, leading 43-30 going into the final quarter.
Throughout the game, the Pulse shooters were able to use their crafty court work and maintain calm under pressure. In the final term, the Stars’ defence of Anna Harrison and Elle Temu ramped up their defensive pressure to put a stop to that. Yet the Pulse remained patient and calm utilising the fundamental skill of hitting the circle edge to feed into Dunn and Metuarau. However, that wasn’t enough as the Stars’ defence forced them to take long shots and refeed out ultimately forcing uncharacteristic errors and missed shots from the Pulse. It allowed the Stars’ to make a late run and draw back the Pulse’s lead but it was not enough to win them the game. The Pulse collected the three premiership points with a 56-46 victory over the Stars.
Categories: ANZ Premiership