Inspired by a dynamic defensive performance, The Good Oil Tactix have defeated the Robinhood Stars 52-39, in front of a sell-out home Christchurch crowd.
It was a crucial win for the Tactix, who leapfrogged the Stars and the Steel to be second on the ANZ Premiership table, and collected the Hanmer Springs Trophy along the way.
Tactix circle defenders Jane Watson and Karin Burger, MVP for a fifth time, were in sensational form, snaffling ball and upsetting the Stars’ attack – who tried three goal shoots during the match to try to elude them. It was evident in the final score – the visitors restricted to the lowest total of the season.
While the home side had their own moments of lack of focus and control, they found their calm and connectivity in the second half, and supported Ellie Bird to an outstanding 98 percent (44 from 45) shooting effort.
Early nerves were evident in both sides, but the Tactix got the upper hand first, with Burger and Watson immediately disrupting the Stars attack.
The Tactix leapt out to 8-2 ahead, but it was followed by a period of neither side valuing the ball they fired it into the shooting circles.
The Stars began to slip into a rhythm and close the gap, with Anna Harrison and Elle Temu doing their very best to rattle Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Bird.
Just before the break, the Tactix went back to threading their passes together to lead 12-9.
As the second quarter evolved, it became clear Stars captain Maia Wilson wasn’t enjoying the attention from Burger and Watson. And with only five goals from 11 attempts, Wilson went to the bench, replaced by Monica Falkner at goal shoot.
Gina Crampton took control of the Stars with some superb passing into Falkner and Jamie Hume, who weren’t afraid to turn and shoot, and the visitors went from six down to two.
The Tactix – guilty of being over-enthusiastic and a little too speedy - looked to new wing attack Erikana Pedersen to calm down their attack. She did her job, and more, helping to keep the Stars at arm’s length, 23-21, at halftime.
A reinvigorated, but more patient Tactix returned to the court and promptly went on an unanswered run of five; Watson and Burger again impressing with their defensive domination and agility.
Down by six again, the Stars brought Wilson back into the shooting circle. But they couldn’t breach the widening gap, and were down 37-29 going into the final quarter.
During the break, Stars coach Kiri Wills made an impassioned plea to her attack to ‘man up’, and she introduced another goal shoot, Amorangi Malesala, to the game. Malesala responded with some sweet shots, but it was a tough ask for the Stars to shut down a Tactix side who had the scent of a crucial victory.