Delivering a timely reminder of their credentials, a potent Robinhood Stars swept to an impressive 67-53 win over Splice Construction Magic in Hamilton on Saturday.
After an even first half, the Stars exploded into life in the most convincing of fashions with a forceful second 30 minutes while going on to post their highest ever ANZ Premiership score. Leading by two at halftime, the Magic, as they have done regularly this season, were guilty of a drop in standards which opened the door for the visitors.
The Stars made better use of their turnover opportunities, gaining confidence along the way to deliver a quality outing. With another game tomorrow, the Stars had the luxury of resting key figures and being able to clear their bench as the rollicking finish continued unabated.
Affected by illness, both teams were missing front line players, resulting in some reshuffling but the Magic welcomed back key shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio to the starting line-up in partnership with goal attack Bailey Mes. In the absence of Oceane Maihi, Georgia Tong got the start at goal defence.
The Stars were hit at the defensive end with the experienced Anna Harrison and Kayla Johnson missing, prompting Storm Purvis to come to the rescue of her former team while turning out in her 100th national league match in the process.
There was some settling time needed before both teams got into the groove while delivering an enterprising and keenly-fought opening.
Both goal shoots were prominent figures with Ekenasio and her opposite Maia Wilson potting all ball that came their way, a late burst nudging the Magic to a 15-12 lead at the first break.
With both teams lifting their tempo on the resumption, an entertaining contest was in the making with crisp, accurate and slick transitional play being a feature for both teams.
The combination of Ekenasio and Mes gathered in momentum with the pair finding immaculate timing and finishing under the hoop. That was replicated by their opponents, wing attack Gina Crampton being the provider in setting up the attack while shooter Wilson provided a masterclass with her movement and accuracy.
Defensively, Tong was tireless for the Magic while Stars wing defence Holly Fowler was an energetic presence with her through-court drives and tight defence.
It was a cracking second stanza from both teams, each shooting successfully from all points of the circle, Wilson converting 19 from 19 as the visitors trimmed the Magic’s lead to 31-29 at the main break.
It took the Stars just two minutes to level the scores at the start of the third stanza and from there the visitors produced a telling few minutes which changed the nature of the game. Feeding off Magic turnovers, the Stars went on the rampage, a nine-goal unanswered run bursting the home side’s bubble.
With control of the game in their hands, the Stars looked to hammer home the advantage, goal attack Jamie Hume sinking a clutch of long-range bombs while doing her bit on defence as well.
Crampton continued to conduct the Stars attacking momentum while Wilson revelled in a fruitful day out with an impressive showing.
Turning the tables, it was the Stars who had all the momentum when taking a handy 47-40 lead into the last turn, outscoring their opponents two goals to one during the quarter while restricting the Magic to just nine goals.