24 Feb 2019

Stars shine in upset netball win

8:17 pm on 24 February 2019

The Northern Stars have opened their national netball premiership campaign with an upset 66-64 win over the Southern Steel in Hamilton.

Maia Wilson

Maia Wilson Photo: Photosport

The experience of midcourter Temepara Bailey and defender Leana de Bruin provided an extra edge for the Stars, but youngsters Maia Wilson and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan also shone in the hard-earned win.

Former Pulse wing attack Reuelu-Buchanan formed a reliable and impressive combination with shooter Wilson, who was rock solid in her movement and accuracy.

Wilson was a standout throughout the match with her consistency of play and fine return of 51 goals from 57 attempts.

The Stars led 21-15 after the first quarter, 37-34 at halftime and 55-47 at the three-quarter mark.

But the Steel launched a spirited comeback in the final spell, closing the gap from 10 to level the scores at 63-63 with just over two minutes remaining.

However a crucial pick-up from returning defender Kayla Cullen, and Wilson's poise under the hoop, was enough to secure the win.

In the second match of Sunday's triple-header, the Tactix edged out the Magic 48-42 in another closely fought match.

Shooting accuracy proved key for the Christchurch-based team, with Ellie Bird and Kate Beveridge missing just one shot each from the Tactix's 50 attempts.

And in the final match of the day at Claudelands Arena, last year's beaten finalists Central Pulse were ruthless in thumping the Northern Mystics 62-29.

The Pulse clicked into top gear from the opening pass, dominating all areas of the court to lead 19-8 at the first break, 37-19 at halftime and 50-26 at the three-quarter mark.

The Mystics lifted a little to win the final quarter 13-12 as Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie took the opportunity to give her young bench some court time.

The premiership continues on Monday evening in Hamilton when the Northern Stars play the Magic.