The Northern Stars will be disappointed to not cement a play-off spot after losing to The Good Oil Tactix 48-53 in the final match of Super Sunday in Invercargill.
The Stars had their chances throughout the final quarter to level the match, but loose passes at crucial moments let the team down when it counted. The Stars still managed to secure a bonus point as consolation.
In round 9 it was the Tactix who shocked the Stars winning 49-46 in Christchurch, their first home win of the ANZ Premiership.
Stars head coach Kiri Wills praised the Tactix defensive work, “they outhustled us in the defensive circle, we were getting enough ball to win the game, we just need to score it.”
Wills added, “it is disappointing to lose, we’ve got to fight for our position in the semi-finals and not just hope it happens.”
Unlike two weeks ago the Stars had a much better start to the match with captain Leana De Bruin picking up turnover ball and her attacking players converting at the other end.
Following strong showings off the bench in recent weeks, Holly Fowler earned the start at wing defence ahead of Kayla Cullen.
Both teams struggled to maintain momentum as the Stars headed to the first break up 13-12.
The Cantabrians started to get a run of goals in the second quarter as the Stars attack struggled to find each other. The Stars shooting wobbles of recent weeks crept back into their game.
Charlee Hodges was introduced into the match but the Tactix were hot on a roll of four straight goals to build a 21-26 lead at the main break.
Halpenny returned after half time but it was the introduction of Cullen who picked up an intercept in her first touch of the match and picked up a turnover to spark the Stars into a four-goal run of their own.
Temepara Bailey and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan began to dictate attacking play as the Stars came to within two goals.
The Tactix refused to buckle under the Stars new found confidence and continued to let the ball go into goal shoot Ellie Bird who shouldered the Tactix scoring and push the lead to 37-41 with one quarter remaining.
Down the stretch the Stars had their chances to draw even but loose attacking play left the great defensive work up court undone.
Earlier in the day the Central Pulse continued their unbeaten run overcoming the WBOP Magic 45-53 and Steel beat the Northern Mystics 69-58 to secure their places at the top of the ladder.
The Northern Stars next head to Wellington to take on the unbeaten Central Pulse on Monday 13th May at TSB Bank Arena.