While neither team Northern Stars or Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic were playing to make finals, they were both playing for pride after seasons to forget.
Magic had only notched up one win, back in the opening round over the eventual minor premiers in Mystics while Northern Stars had a blistering start to the season but were unable to carry their strong form into the back half.
It was a comprehensive win for the Stars 65-46, winning all four quarters, but it certainly wasn’t a full-court performance.
The shooting end, in particular, struggled with accuracy, captain Maia Wilson shot 17/29 at 58%, Jamie Hume 26/35 at 74%, Monica Falkner 20/28 at 71% and Amorangi Malesala made a small cameo in the final 5 minutes putting up 2/3 at 66%.
This combined for an overall shooting statistic of only 68%, 65/95.
Luckily, they were able to pick up 10 offensive rebounds, compared to only four defensive rebounds from Magic. Regardless, this is something the team will definitely be looking to address heading into next year.
Shooting accuracy wasn’t an issue for Magic, it was getting the ball into the goal circle where things were breaking down.
The whole attacking unit seemed to lack connection, making several changes throughout the game to try and find something that would work. The only player who remained in her starting position for the entire game was Caitlin Bassett at GS.
In attack, Magic often lacked a forward option to the ball, with players seemingly waiting for someone else to make a move rather than taking the onus on themselves to get the play moving.
And in defence they were sitting behind their opposition, trying to contest the ball from behind but often drawing a contact penalty as a result. This tactic may have also been employed to try and force the shooters to take a long shot, but this backfired with Stars shooters managing to be more accurate from range (70%) than under the hoop (68%).
It was the Stars defence who really clinched the victory for them, MVP Anna Harrison finishing with a whopping 13 gains including eight intercepts.
While she spent the whole game at GD, she and Elle Temu made positional switches throughout the game in order to use Harrison’s height over Bassett. Temu also finished with eight gains for herself.
You may be left wondering how a team who missed 30 goals can win a game of elite netball, but when the defensive end picks up 27 gains that go a long way at getting the team back into the game, especially when you score off 74% of those gains.
Overall, it was a strong performance by the Stars who will take confidence into next season.
Magic wasn’t able to give outgoing Head Coach Amigene Metcalfe the send-off they would’ve liked, and will have plenty of work on for the off-season.
Categories: ANZ Premiership