Stars shine in one-goal win over Pulse

TURNING around a 10-goal loss to their opponents five days earlier, the Northern Stars produced an impressive one-goal victory over Central Pulse in their Round 8 ANZ Premiership clash yesterday. The Stars started the way they hoped to lead at quarter time, and though the Pulse were able to hit back in a topsy-turvy momentum-swinging contest, the home side came up trumps with a last minute goal and then great defensive pressure to ensure the 47-46 victory.

CENTRAL PULSE 10 | 14 | 13 | 9 (46)
NORTHERN STARS 14 | 14 | 10 | 9 (47)

The start of the game was fairly even, with both sides trading blows, and the Pulse leading by a goal at the eight-minute mark of the quarter. Five consecutive goals to the Stars suddenly handed the visitors a four-goal bugger, and they held that for the remainder of the first term. With Gina Crampton (five goal assists) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (five) were both dominant in midcourt, as Jamie Hume put up nine goals from 11 attempts to put her last round performance behind her. Aliyah Dunn scored 11 from 12 for the home team, whilst Kelly Jury was trying hard in goal keeper.

Northern Stars’ dominance in midcourt saw the Pulse bring on Maddy Gordon to go head-to-head with Crampton for nine minutes, before Paris Lokotui would return in the wing defence bib 10 minutes later, with Gordon moved to centre and Erikana Pedersen coming off. Crampton was having a rip-snorting first half, scoring 12 goal assists, two more than Reuelu-Buchanan. Tiana Metuarau was starting to click for the Pulse, scoring four goals at 100 pr cent, as well as four goal assists from four feeds, as Dunn shot six goals from six assists to break even in the term.

Northern Stars made their first change of the match with Kayla Johnson replacing Holly Fowler at wing defence to start the second half. After the Stars scored the first two goals of the third term, it was the Pulse who started to take control, drawing back level midway through the quarter, and even in the last minute. Metuarau had the chance to level the scores once more in the final 10 seconds but missed, with the home side heading into the final break just a goal down, 37-38.

Both teams rolled out a chance to start the last, with Pedersen replacing Gordon in centre once again, whilst Anna Harrison and Elle Temu switching defensive circle bibs. Parris Mason had a brief four-minute stint in goal defence to give Kristiana Manu’a a rest, as the Pulse hit the front for the first time since the first term. That did not last though, as Maia Wilson scored three consecutive goals, even grabbing a rebound off a Hume miss to hand the Stars a two-goal buffer. The final stanza was a tight one, with plenty of missed chances, but two goals in the final two minutes put them up by that margin, with Hume proving third time was a charm after missing two shots before making good on the third attempt. A last goal to Metuarau with 44 seconds on the clock cut the deficit to one, but did not change the result, with the Stars holding on to win, 47-46.

Hume won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for her impressive 24 goals from 32 attempts in goal attack for the Stars, also producing five goal assists, and picking up a rebound and an intercept. Wilson scored 23 goals from 29 attempts, whilst Crampton (19 goal assists) and Reuelu-Buchanan (17) were both impressive. Temu again had a strong performance with four intercepts and only six penalties.

For the Pulse, Dunn shot 29 goals from 31 attempts, whilst Metuarau was efficient with 17 from 21, as well as 15 goal assists from 19 feeds. Jury was strong in goal shooter on Wilson, whilst Gordon did well injecting herself into the midcourt.

Northern Stars take on Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic on Saturday afternoon in a Round 9 clash, whilst Central Pulse travel to the Edgar Centre to meet Southern Steel.

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