The Pulse remain unbeaten in the ANZ netball Premiership after beating the Northern Stars 61-50 in Papakura.
The Stars were without their influential midcourter Temepara Bailey, who was nursing a quad strain, and her absence was telling.
A second quarter rush from the Pulse, who outscored the Stars by nine goals in those 15 minutes, was ultimately key to their victory. And goal shoot Aliyah Dunn, the match MVP, was almost unstoppable under the hoop, shooting 43 from 45 (96 percent) and keeping up her record as the most accurate shooter in the ANZ Premiership competition.
There was little to separate the two teams in the first 15 minutes, with the scoring ticking over virtually goal for goal. The Stars had their opportunities to pull away after strong defensive work, especially from wing defence Kayla Cullen and captain Leana de Bruin, only to lose possession at the shooting end.
It was 11-all at the first quarter break, with both sides initially proving a little rusty with their shooting.
The Pulse ramped it up at the start of the second spell, quickly taking an eight-goal lead.
Their reunited shooting combination, Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio - who was back on court after sitting out last week's match on concussion watch - came to the fore. They were smartly set up with quality ball from Whitney Souness, who showed great balance and timing around the circle.
At the other end, Katrina Rore and Sulu Fitzpatrick were giving a masterclass in defence, successfully rattling the Stars attack. The Stars were picking up plenty of ball with deflections on defence, but without Bailey commanding the charge forward on court, they struggled to convert it into points on the board.
The Pulse are second on the table, a point behind the Southern Steel who have played an extra game.
The Stars remain third with a three win-two loss record.
Shooting Stats - Stars:
Charlee Hodges 9/12 @75%
Ellen Halpenny 6/10 @60%
Maia Wilson 35/43 @81%
Shooting Stats - Pulse:
Aliyah Dunn 43/45 @96%
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 17/25 @68%
Tiana Metuarau 1/2 @50%