The Good Oil Tactix recorded their first home win of the ANZ Premiership, upsetting the Northern Stars 49-46 in Christchurch tonight.
The Stars managed to take a bonus point from the loss, but another slow start had the visitors chasing the entire game.
“We talk about it every week, we can’t start like that, no excuses, we know the game and just have to execute,” said captain Leana De Bruin.
The teams last played each other back in round two in Takanini where the Stars won convincingly 65 – 46.
Playing in her 100th combined national league match, Kayla Cullen was in the heat of the action early picking up two deflections and an intercept. Cullen went on to finish the match with 3 intercepts, 3 deflections and a rebound.
The Tactix were having an easier time finding shooter Ellie Bird in the circle as the home side took a 14-11 quarter time lead.
Charlee Hodges shouldered the bulk of the Stars shooting as Maia Wilson was double marked by the Tactix defenders.
Wilson’s confidence took a knock following an awkward fall in the first quarter and called time to head to the bench with Ellen Halpenny taking the goal shoot bib.
There were more changes to come from coach Kiri Wills with Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Holly Fowler and Temepara Bailey switching midcourt positions to adjust to a moving shooting circle.
The Tactix threatened to push out to a nine-goal lead but the Stars defensive pairing of Leana De Bruin and Storm Purvis created turnovers to help the Stars close out the half strongly only four behind the Tactix 25 – 21.
Shooting wobbles continued for the Stars in the third quarter as the Tactix established a nine-goal lead and punished any mistakes the Stars made.
Wilson returned to the shooting circle with two minutes remaining in the quarter to sink two long bombs as the Stars trailed 31-37 with 15 minutes remaining.
The Stars had their chances to come back and threaten the lead in the final quarter with superb defensive work by De Bruin and Cullen but missed shots and handling errors on attack resulted in points on the board for a composed Tactix side.
The Northern Stars return to Pulman Arena this Sunday in their last regular season home game to take on the Northern Mystics. Purchase tickets here: https://bit.ly/2EB82JZ