The Southern Steel are officially in the midst of their first losing streak in the ANZ Premiership.
The Steel hadn't dropped two games straight through their 24 games since the competition's inception in 2017, but that run came to an end at the hands of the Mainland Tactix.
After losing to the Northern Mystics on Wednesday, the Steel were left to rue a slow start as the Tactix claimed a 53-52 win in Dunedin this afternoon. For the Mainland side, the win ends a run of five straight losses.
"The whole team played really well," Tactix centre and game MVP Kimiora Poi said. "We played a full 60 minutes for once - finally."
It was an uncharacteristic start from Steel goal shoot Jen O'Connell. Coming into the match as the competition's fourth best shooter, connecting on 85 per cent of her attempts, the 21-year-old was struggling to find her touch.
She claimed the first goal of the match, but it was followed by five misses. Steel goal-attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit also started cold, missing her opening two attempts. O'Connell found her stroke later, nailing 41 of her next 46 shots.
The Tactix on the other hand were able to rely on goal shoot Ellie Bird, whose 11 goals from 12 attempts made the difference in the opening quarter as the Tactix held a 13-11 lead.
Cold as they were to start, the Steel got right back into the game with two quick goals to level things up. They then took advantage of Tactix star goal keep Temalisi Fakahokotau having to leave the game with an ankle injury.
Luckily for the Tactix, the competition's leading interceptor returned to the court soon after, and while the visitors did enough to hold onto the lead at halftime, the Steel were looking more than capable of turning things around.
After the break, the teams continued to go back and forth as neither could build a comprehensive lead. The Steel did enough to win the period by a goal, which tied things up heading into the final quarter.
In the final period, the Steel looked like they were set to steal the win from the Mainland side. The hosts had built their way to a three-goal advantage toward the middle stages of the period and looked like they would go on with the job.
However, some strong defence from the Tactix gave the visitors chances to close the gap. The Tactix went on a five-goal run late in the period to take a two-goal lead, which was enough to see them scrape home with a slim win.
The Steel fall to 6-4 for the season but remain second on the ladder, while the Tactix improve to 4-6 to sit in third.