A dominant 65-50 win over the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Invercargill on Monday night has seen the Southern Steel rise to third on the ANZ Premiership table.
It is the tenth consecutive loss for the Magic who failed to put any real pressure on a commanding Steel unit.
All eyes were on the Steel's Grace Namana who stepped up to replace star shooter George Fisher, who was unavailable after sustaining a concussion in last week's match against the Northern Stars. The newcomer held her own against the Magic defence and netted 35 of 38 attempts.
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She was helped by an MVP performance by goal attack Tiana Metaurau who missed only one shot.
Yet another poor start plagued the Waikato-Bay of Plenty side who suffered a series of attacking errors to give the Steel a healthy seven goal lead after the first quarter. The deficit proved insurmountable for the last-place Magic and a series of strong defensive plays by Steel duo Taneisha Fifita and Sarahpheinna Woulf throughout the match provided a constant disruption.
The departure of Caitlin Bassett at the end of the first quarter allowed the Steel to increase their lead to fourteen at halftime, but her reintroduction midway through the third saw the Magic regain some momentum to take the quarter 15-14.
However they failed to carry this into their fourth quarter performance, the Steel finishing with a decisive 15 goal win.
The two teams will meet again this week in Hamilton in round 12 of the competition where the Magic will be seeking redemption, and the Steel looking to increase their rise up the table. Despite the 15 point margin, Steel captain Shannon Saunders was taking little for granted.
"We just need to try and mix it up because the same thing isn't going to work again [against the Magic]", Saunders said.
The win puts the Steel three points ahead of the Mainland Tactix who are still yet to face the Central Pulse this week following the extension of Level 2 Covid restrictions in Wellington.