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Late Stars Fight Back Not Enough To Halt Magic

AVIS Magic defeated the Stars 60-56 in Auckland

3 June, 2024

The Stars have rallied late before falling to a 60-56 ANZ Premiership loss to the AVIS Magic at the Auckland Netball Centre.

The first quarter was a free-flowing affair, with both teams expressing themselves with the ball as goals were being scored at will.

Kate Burley led the defensive end from goal keep, with the Stars constantly pressuring the Magic and making them wrestle for every goal.

Starting at wing attack, Emma Thompson was strong at the attacking end, expertly timing her feeds to shooters Amorangi Malesala and Maia Wilson.

Wilson was a pillar under the hoop, making a perfect start to the match, netting her 10 attempts at goal as the Stars trailed 16-15 at quarter time.

The start of the second quarter looked like a carbon copy of the first, the Stars made the first big play of the quarter when Burley used her anticipation to pounce on a loose pass which sparked a scoring run and gave the Stars a two-goal advantage.

Unfortunately for the Stars, their quest for an illusive first victory was to get even tougher, with dynamic mid-courter Mila Reuelu-Buchanan taken off the court with a knee injury after falling awkwardly.

Monica Falkner was injected into the shooting circle alongside Wilson and enjoyed a fantastic quarter, looking back to her sharpshooting best with every minute on the court, as her and Wilson completed a flawless second quarter with an 100% goal rate.

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The Stars lost some of their spark in the mid-court after Reuelu-Buchanan's departure and the Magic smelt blood - going on a devastating run in the final couple of minutes to open up a six-goal 34-28 lead at half-time.

The Magic continued to be economical in possession and made the Stars pay for any mistakes in the third quarter, with Saviour Tui and Ameliaranne Ekenasio clinical in front of goal.

The Stars struggled to eat into the deficit and a successive 18 goal quarter from the Magic gave them a commanding 10 goal lead heading into the final period.

The Stars refused to let the game blow away from them and showcased a resilient and spirited response in the fourth quarter.

The defensive end terrorised the Magic attackers, forcing multiple errors and then capitalising, as the Stars threatened to produce a stunning comeback, holding the Magic to just eight fourth quarter goals.

Unfortunately, the clock proved to be on the Magic's side and they hung on to record a 60-56 win.

Burley was at her fantastic best on defence, upsetting the flow of the Magic on many occasions and recording three gains and two intercepts.

Wilson produced her best shooting display of the season, nailing all 32 of her shots at goal, as the fourth quarter display will give the Stars lots of encouragement ahead of their home match against the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel on Saturday.

Robinhood Stars: 56

AVIS Magic: 60

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