Call Us Now: +33 756 855 286
Stars beat Magic 58-54 to join Pulse, Mystics in three-way tie at top of ANZ Premiership

Stars beat Magic 58-54 to join Pulse, Mystics in three-way tie at top of ANZ Premiership

SKY SPORT

The Stars beat the Magic in their penultimate game to set up a three-way tie at the top of the ANZ Premiership ladder.

At Pulman Arena, Auckland: Stars 58 (Maia Wilson 42/47, Jamie Hume 3/10, Amorangi Malesala 13/18) Magic 54 (Bailey Mes 20/24, Ameliarannne Ekenasio 34/41) 1Q: 17-12; HT: 33-24; 3Q: 48-40

The Stars have set up a three-way tie at the top of the ANZ Premiership ladder after holding off a late surge to beat the last-placed Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.

But their four-goal win at Pulman Arena in Auckland on Wednesday night wasn’t large enough to help their last-gasp push for top spot, which looked set for a boost when they led by 13 towards the end of the third quarter.

A win in their final regular season match back at the same venue on Thursday against the Southern Steel will send them clear of their rivals who also have 31 points – the defending champion Northern Mystics and the Central Pulse.

Maia Wilson hauls in a pass for the Stars during their win over the Magic.

Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Maia Wilson hauls in a pass for the Stars during their win over the Magic.

The catch is those two teams then complete their campaigns on Friday on the other side of town, with the winner able to move back level with the Stars – or, if the Stars lose, move past them.

READ MORE:

* Central Pulse go top of the ANZ Premiership ladder with 51-43 win over Mainland Tactix

* Ameliaranne Ekenasio stands out as Magic edge Tactix in extra-time

* Stars prevail in extra-time thriller over Steel to clinch ANZ Premiership finals spot

* Stars fully focused as they finish ANZ Premiership season with three games in five nights

Goal percentage is the tiebreaker and the Stars boosted theirs only slightly to 104.6% with their 58-54 win on Wednesday, which means they will need an extremely large win on Thursday to catch the Mystics at 109.2% or the Pulse at 111.3%.

The top team advances straight to the grand final next Sunday, with the second-placed team hosting the third-placed team in the elimination final next Wednesday.

The Stars took the lead after 15 seconds against the Magic and never relinquished it, but couldn’t break clear, and had to keep their wits about them as the visitors rallied to pull within four in the final quarter.

The Stars won by 14 the last time the two teams met, just over two weeks ago, and needed a repeat here, but couldn’t manage it.

There was an injury scare for the Stars in the first quarter, when goal attack Jamie Hume hobbled off. She did return during the third quarter, with her right thigh strapped.

Best on court

Anna Harrison anchored things for the Stars at the defensive end, partnering with Kayla Johnson for a full 60 minutes in the defensive circle in the absence of Elle Temu. There were some crucial interventions from the duo to keep the Magic at bay in the final quarter when they threatened to pull off a dramatic comeback.

The big moment

Every goal mattered for the Stars in this one, with top spot in their sights, so the one Amorangi Malesala grabbed right at the end of the second quarter, after a Maia Wilson miss, was duly cheered by players and staff. It stretched the Stars’ lead to nine – the biggest it had been all night to that point.

Match rating

6/10: The Stars led from start to finish and there was almost zero doubt about the outcome – until the Magic made their late push. The Counties Manukau Cometz throwback uniforms worn by the Stars gained this match another point.

The big picture

The Stars have ticked two out of three boxes on their to-do list this week, but have a short turnaround before hosting the Steel on Thursday. A win will guarantee them second place and hosting rights for the elimination final, but they now need an improbably large one to hold off the winner of Friday’s Mystics-Pulse clash for top spot and a ticket straight to the grand final.

Read More

Laisser un commentaire

Your email address will not be published.