Stars shine to defeat Mystics and set up pulsating Grand Final

IN an all Northern ANZ Premiership Elimination Final affair, the Stars lit it up and defeated the Mystics 63-57 to book their place in the 2022 Grand Final.

The Mystics certainly fought back hard late, but ultimately could not get over the line. The win sees the Stars move on to Sunday’s Grand Final, where they will take on the Central Pulse in Wellington.

NORTHERN STARS            16 | 17 | 15 | 15 (63)
NORTHERN MYSTICS       10 | 13 | 20 | 14 (57)

After trading blows initially in the first quarter, it was the Stars who skipped out to an early lead, but their lead did not last long as the Mystics levelled things up again.

The Stars were able to restore their lead about halfway through the term, and were able to maintain it for the rest of the quarter. It was a one or two goal lead for much of the period, but by the time quarter time came around the Stars had extended their margin out to six.   

Grace Nweke made her return to the court from injury to begin the second term, but her return did not help the Mystics as they fell further behind. The margin got out to as many as 10 goals during the quarter, and that is where the margin sat at the main break despite some late attacking work from the Mystics.

The Mystics managed to reduce the lead slightly in the opening minutes of the third term, but that smaller lead did not last long as the Stars regained their half time lead.

Then, the Mystics breathed some life back into their game by going on a run of five straight goals to bring the margin back to seven.

Unfortunately for the Mystics, the Stars regained control of the match and stopped their scoring momentum.

However, there were more twists left in the term as the Mystics got on another run late and managed to reduce the margin down to five as the teams went into the final change.

Things started to heat up in the final term, with the pressure getting to both teams and the tempers starting to fray.

The Mystics managed to get the margin down to three goals halfway through the term, but then the Stars held their nerve and stopped the scoring momentum.

The Stars got the lead back out to a five-goal margin, but the Mystics were certainly not going down without a fight.

Unfortunately for the Mystics, they ran out of time to claw back the deficit, ultimately going down by six goals.

Anna Harrison in particular really stood up for the Stars in the last quarter, as her defensive work was goal stopping on a number of occasions.

As for the full game performance, Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan were absolute workhorses through the midcourt, and Maia Wilson starred up forward for the Stars. Crampton finished with 63 feeds and 37 goal assists, while Reuelu-Buchanan finished with 42 feeds and 16 goal assists, and Wilson only missed two shots all game.

Meanwhile for the Mystics, once she came on Nweke was pretty accurate in front of goal, only missing four for the night, while Elisapeta Toeava finished with 36 feeds and 24 goal assists.

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