All the ANZ Premiership netball action between the Northern Stars and the Mainland Tactix from the Pulman Arena in Auckland.
The weekend's matches
Over the weekend, victories to the Southern Steel and Central Pulse caused a logjam at the top of the ANZ Premiership ladder.
Coming into the round fifth on the ladder, the Steel tipped over the second-placed Northern Mystics, 63-58, while the Central Pulse made it tight at the top by beating the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 64-53.
Now just five points separate the top five sides, with only the lowly 1-6 Magic off the pace, marooned in last, five points adrift
The Mystics could have temporarily gone top had they beaten the Mystics, but the Steel tipped them over on their home court. The hosts were left ruing a slow start, with eight turnovers in the first quarter as the Steel took every advantage to race out to a 17-11 lead at the break.
Bailey Mes had a poor game, mustering only six goals on nine attempts, with Grace Nweke having to take on a hefty load, sinking 52 of her 61 attempts.
Whenever it looked like the Mystics might close the gap, they came up with another error, and with the Steel's English shooter George Fisher converting well (47/52) and ably supported as always by goal attack Tiana Metaurau (16/19), the visitors maintained their buffer.
Steel goal keep Taneisha Fifita snared four intercepts from passes that weren't aerial enough to take advantage of Nweke's height, and while the Mystics couldn't get closer than five goals during the final period, they did keep the deficit to five, snaring a potentially valuable losing bonus point.
That leaves them level on 15 points with the Northern Stars, who have a game in hand against the Mainland Tactix tonight, while the Pulse sit alongside the Steel on 12 points after their eventually comfortable victory over the Magic.
The Pulse led 16-12 after the first quarter, but the Magic fought hard in the second quarter, sticking within two goals.
That deficit reduced to one immediately after halftime, but that was as close as they got, as the Pulse pulled away, winning the last two quarters 14-9 and 19-15.
The Magic were left to rue a poor shooting night, as although Caitlin Bassett shot a respectable 47/55, Grace Kara, surprisingly used in her less familiar position of goal attack, produced a dismal 6/14 display.
At the other end, there were no such issues for the Pulse, with Aliyah Dunn (42/46) and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble (22/25) converting with ease and indicating that the Pulse may be finding their best form after a slow start to the season.