Olivia Cook runs through the five talking points from round 10 of the ANZ Premiership.
1. Magic snap losing streak
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have finally found their winning formula with a thrilling one-goal victory over the Northern Mystics on Monday evening.
It was a full 60-minute performance from the Magic who have been guilty of dropping off the pace in the second half of games this season.
Coming up against a Mystics side without injured Silver Fern Grace Nweke, the Magic were able to capitalise defensively on the greater than usual number of passes that the Aucklanders were forced into in and around the circle in an attempt to get ball into their shooters.
While these gains were not always converted - the Magic shooters finished on 73 and 74 per cent - Bailey Mes was able to finish the job when needed, netting the winning goal for her side.
The win snaps an eight-game losing streak for the Magic, and they'll be hoping the momentum carries them through to Wednesday night's rescheduled clash with the Southern Steel, who will be looking to regain some form after their loss to the Mainland Tactix over the weekend.
2. Tactix keep season alive
The Tactix have rescued their finals chances with a much-needed 61-56 victory over the Southern Steel in Christchurch on Sunday.
While a loss would have spelled the end of the Cantabrians' playoff hopes, a win ensures that they now match their southern rivals on the points table with four games left to play.
Despite a strong start from the Steel which saw them take a four-goal lead into the first-quarter break, the Tactix fought back hard to win the following three quarters and avoid their usual second-half fade that has plagued them all season.
The shooting duo of Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit found form to shoot at an impressive 98 and 90 per cent respectively, after what has been a patchy season for the Tactix shooters.
Although the Tactix still have a tough ask ahead of them to make that final three, Sunday's game gave us a glimpse of the team that made the grand final last year.
3. Stars go two from two
The Northern Stars have continued their late climb up the ANZ Premiership ladder with two wins from two games over the weekend.
After a hefty come-from-behind victory over the Magic on Saturday, they then made their way down to the capital and rounded off the weekend with a 49-44 victory against the Central Pulse.
The Stars managed to withhold the onslaught that was Pulse defender Kelly Jury, who picked up four intercepts and nine deflections in another outstanding performance.
Without veteran Anna Harrison in the defensive end, the Stars employed the talents of former players Storm Purvis and Leana de Bruin in each of their weekend matches to great effect.
The win puts the Stars equal with the Pulse on the points table, and with the same amount of games still left to play, it's going to be a rush to the finish for both teams.
4. Nweke a glaring absence for Mystics
The omission of star goal shoot Grace Nweke, who is out after suffering an ankle injury late in Saturday's clash against the Tactix, was perhaps the most notable feature of the Auckland side's Monday night loss to the Magic.
Although the Mystics have strong aspects throughout the court, their ability to score quickly through finding the tall target of Nweke in the circle has been a key ingredient of their winning formula.
Despite a relatively sound shooting percentage from shooting duo Monica Falkner and Filda Vui of 84 and 85 per cent respectively, the extra few passes needed to get ball into the goal circle provided significant and were often successful chances for the Magic defenders to pick up turnovers.
While captain Sulu Fitzpatrick was making her own voice known down the defensive end, with three intercepts and nine gains against the Magic shooters, the Mystics only capitalised on 65 per cent of their gains.
For a Mystics side who have relied on long feeds into Nweke and her ability to pull in a range of passes from mid air, they will have to adapt quickly to her absence in order to maintain that top spot on the leaderboard.
5. Silver Ferns watch
As the ANZ Premiership enters the business end of the competition and the focus begins to shift towards the upcoming Silver Ferns camp, the battle for the centre bib is well and truly heating up.
Almost every team in the competition has a high calibre centre, and it's evident with some standout performances in recent weeks that a push for that Commonwealth Games squad must be on the mind.
Stars centre Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Tactix captain Kimiora Poi and Mystics youngster Tayla Earle all pick up significant amounts of ball for their teams throughout the court and, combined with their speed and fitness, will be looking to continue to impress in these final few rounds.
Kate Heffernan, Sam Winders and Maddy Gordon, for the Steel, Magic and Pulse respectively, have the added distinction of often switching between the centre and wing defence bib for their teams. The defensive nous that comes with this dual skillset is invaluable when needing to make crucial turnovers in the midcourt.
While only four midcourters will likely be selected as part of the final Ferns squad, it will be interesting whether the selectors are more inclined towards those who specialise in the centre position or if adaptability around the court is more beneficial at an international level.