A dominant first half from the Central Pulse established a comfortable early lead as the visiting side won 65-50, in round 11 ANZ Premiership action at South Auckland’s Pulman Park Arena.
It was the competition leaders who won by sixteen goals when the two sides first played in round 8. The Pulse were out to an eight-goal lead early in the first half thanks to some loose errors from the Stars.
A Kate Burley defensive tip helped the home side peg back a couple of goals to trail 12-17 at the break.
Ellen Hapenny replaced Paula Griffin to start the second quarter as the Stars looked to combat the defensive pressure of Katrina Grant and Sulu Fitzpatrick. The Pulse ended the half ahead by 13 goals, 22-35.
Assistant coach Temepara Bailey put the loss down to a slow start.
“It was a flat and slow first half with inconsistencies, but in the second half we made some changes that worked.”
Griffin returned to the court and the Stars coaching staff opted to give the bench a run to start the third quarter.
Olivia Coughlin came on at goal keep for Burley and Christina Oscar made her first appearance of the season at wing attack, moving Grace Kara into center.
“She (Christina) has been training really well and I think she did an amazing job at wing attack, with Grace in at center, they did an excellent job in complimenting each other and letting the ball go into our shooters,” Bailey added.
After a brief stint on the bench, Burley returned later in the second half and earned a turnover to bring the Stars to within ten of the lead.
Momentum swung back in the Pulse’s favour with Silver Fern Claire Kersten menacing on defence and putting some deft touches into her shooters as the Pulse went to the final break up 37-50.
It was a much-improved period from the Stars who managed to draw the third quarter 15 all.
The Stars continued to build in the final quarter but the damage from the first half had proved too much of a hurdle to overcome as the Pulse ran out winners by fifteen goals.
Next up for the Stars is a rematch against the Northern Mystics in the final Barfoot and Thompson Northern Challenge on Super Sunday 22nd July at Pulman Arena, Takanini.
Monday 23rd July – Northern Stars v Central Pulse (Live SKY Sport)
Venue: Pulman Arena, Auckland