The Robinhood Stars have made a strong statement with a 57-43 ANZ Premiership victory over the Good Oil Tactix at Pulman Arena in Auckland.
New Stars midcourter Gina Crampton celebrated her 100th national league game in style and earned player of the match honours after a tireless display.
Crampton fed the shooting circle with accuracy throughout and linked up with her other teammates superbly.
A frantic start to the game quickly set the tone that defence was going to be a key weapon for both sides.
Each team got their share of turnovers from the opposition half in the opening quarter, with the defensive combination of Anna Harrison and Elle Temu imposing themselves in the Tactix' shooting circle.
At the Stars' shooting end, captain Maia Wilson was cool under intense pressure from Tactix defenders Jane Watson and Karin Burger - shooting at 100 percent, to with help from Jamie Hume, give the Stars a 13-11 advantage after the first quarter.
The defensive battle intensified in the second quarter, with Temu outstanding - finishing the half with four tips and two intercepts.
The Stars midcourt continued to hunt for ball and was rewarded with some vital turnovers, as the Stars led 23-20 at half-time.
The Stars flew out the gate in the opening minutes of the third period, going on a 7-2 run to open up an eight goal buffer, once again thanks to an aggressive defensive approach.
Centre Mila Reuelu-Buchanan's speed and quick thinking helped produce numerous accurate feeds into the shooting circle, as the Stars were rewarded for their intensity and led 39-31 heading into the final quarter.
The Stars were ruthless in the fourth quarter, with defenders Harrison and Oceane Maihi combining for five tips and an intercept.
The relentlessness continued at the attacking end, with Hume lethal from range and Wilson dominating inside the circle as the Stars won the final quarter 18-12 and comfortably wrapped up a second straight victory.
The Stars' next match is against the Splice Construction Magic next Sunday in Tauranga.