Shooting Stars run away with Magical win

IN a record-breaking performance, Northern Stars have run away with a 14-goal win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in Round 10 of the ANZ Premiership season. The Stars trailed by three goals at the first break and two at half-time, before piling on 38 goals to 22 in the second half to win, 67-53. The 67-goal total was the highest in the Stars history, and kept the northern side in touch with the top two, whilst putting a line through the Magic’s chances. Gina Crampton won Most Valuable Player (MVP) for her game-high 31 goal assists from 51 feeds in an enormous effort fo the Stars.

WBOP MAGIC 15 | 16 | 9 | 13 (53)
NORTHERN STARS 12 | 17 | 18 | 20 (67)

Both teams stuck firm with their starting sevens throughout the first half, as the Magic lead by three goals at the first break, and then two in the second after the Magic cut it back. The only time the Stars lead in the first half was in the opening 20 seconds of the match when Maia Wilson scored the opener, before Jamie Hume missed back-to-back chances. It allowed the Magi to take the lead, with their Silver Ferns shooting combination of Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Bailey Mes looking in-sync. Mes scored the last two goals of the opening term to take the three-goal lead, and though the Magic managed to have a couple of three-goal runs in the second term, could not close the game to less than a goal.

Ekenasio was up to 16 goals from 17 attempts, whilst Mes put up 15 from 18, and shared the goal assists around with Georgie Edgecombe and Mes both managing seven, and Samantha Winders leading the way with eight. For the Stars, Wilson carried the load in the first term and finished the opening half with 19 goals at 100 per cent efficiency, whilst Hume did not miss a chance in the second quarter, shooting eight from eight. Crampton was up to a game-high 15 goal assists, whilst the Stars had cut down their penalties in the second term to just seven after a massive 16 in the opening quarter.

The Magic made the switch of Claire Kersten into centre from wing defence, and Winders into wing defence, with Hannah Ridling coming on for Georgia Tong at goal defence five minutes into the third quarter. Despite the changes, the Stars dominated rom start to finish, piling on 18 goals o nine, and the Magic could only score consecutive goals once. The first seven minutes was the difference, as the Magic shot one from three, whilst the Stars shot 10 from 11 to take a seven-goal lead. Not content with this advantage, the Stars also shot five of the last seven goals to maintain the seven-goal buffer at the last break.

Both sides made a number of chances in the last term, with the Magic reversing the third quarter changes, and moving Erena Mikaere into goal defence, whilst Tong came back on in goal keeper. Amorangi Malesala got her chance in goal attack for the Stars midway through the quarter replacing Hume, whilst Emma Iversen and Greer Sinclair gave Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan a much-needed break in midcourt. The Stars had done the work in the third term, and continued that into the fourth, with six out of seven goals midway through the quarter to seal the deal – prompting the substitutions – and eventually the visitors came away with the 67-53 victory.

Crampton finished with the 31 goal assists from 51 feeds and only the two turnovers. She was able to get it through to Wilson (41 goals from 43 attempts) and Hume (23 from 28) whilst Reuelu-Buchanan picked up after a forgettable first quarter to finish with 18 goal assists, but 13 penalties and six turnovers. Ekenasio shot 31 goals from 34 attempts in her first full game for the year, whilst Mes put up 22 from 27, as well as 16 goal assists, two rebounds and one intercept. Edgecombe (12 goal assists) and Winders (11) tried hard, but the Stars midcourt ultimately won the battle.

Northern Stars play Central Pulse later today, while the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic face off against Northern Mystics tomorrow.

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