Stars sweep aside Magic

By Kelvin McDonald
Credit / Michael Bradley

The Stars have swept to an impressive 67-53 win over the Magic in Hamilton on Saturday, according to a Netball NZ match report.

After an even first half, the Stars exploded into life in the second half to post their highest ever ANZ premiership score.

Leading by two at halftime, the Magic were guilty of a drop in standards which opened the door for the visitors.

The Stars made better use of their turnover opportunities, gaining confidence as the game went on. With another game on Sunday, they had the luxury of resting key figures and clearing their bench as they swept aside the Magic.

Affected by illness, both teams were missing front line players, resulting in some reshuffling. The Magic welcomed back key shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio to the starting line-up in partnership with goal attack Bailey Mes. In the absence of Oceane Maihi, Georgia Tong got the start at goal defence.

The Stars were hit at the defensive end with the experienced Anna Harrison and Kayla Johnson missing, prompting Storm Purvis to come to the rescue of her former team while turning out in her 100th national league match in the process.

There was some settling time needed before both teams got into their groove. Both goal shoots were prominent figures, with Ekenasio and her opposite Maia Wilson potting all balls that came their way. A late burst nudged the Magic to a 15-12 lead at the first break.

With both teams lifting their tempo on the resumption, an entertaining contest was in the making. 

The combination of Ekenasio and Mes gathered in momentum with the pair's finishing immaculate under the hoop. That was replicated by their opponents, wing attack Gina Crampton being the provider in setting up the attack while shooter Wilson provided a masterclass with her movement and accuracy.

Defensively, Tong was tireless for the Magic while Stars wing defence Holly Fowler was an energetic presence with her through-court drives and tight defence.

Wilson converted 19 from 19 as the Stars trimmed the Magic’s lead to 31-29 at the main break.

It took the Stars just two minutes to level the scores at the start of the third quarter and from there the visitors produced a telling few minutes which changed the nature of the game. Feeding off Magic turnovers, the Stars went on the rampage, with a nine-goal unanswered run bursting the home side’s bubble.

With control of the game in their hands, the Stars looked to hammer home the advantage, goal attack Jamie Hume sinking a clutch of long-range bombs while doing her bit on defence as well.

Crampton continued to conduct the Stars attacking momentum while Wilson revelled in an impressive showing.

The Stars had all the momentum taking a handy 47-40 lead into the last quarter, outscoring their opponents two goals to one while restricting the Magic to just nine goals.