The Northern Stars have claimed their second win of the 2018 ANZ Premiership, defeating the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 56-51 at Pulman Arena.
Having lost their first seven games of the season, the Stars have now won two of their last three contests to now sit just a point behind the Northern Mystics.
The Magic looked formidable at the start, launching ahead with an early but brief lead as the Stars stumbled to find their rhythm.
With Stars English import Ama Agbeze on the bench, the powerful Lenize Potgieter looked comfortable under the hoop against the inexperienced Kate Burley. But quickly proving her worth, Burley snatched plenty of stunning intercepts as her speedy and towering presence disrupted the flow of the Magic circle.
A sudden surge of confidence and passion aided by relentless defence tactics saw the Stars quickly turn things around in the opening quarter to snatch a four-point advantage.
Stars shooter Maia Wilson, who has held her nerve as chief goalscorer for her side, found good connection with her captain Grace Kara from the circle edge, while goal attacker Paula Griffin showed a boost in confidence to turn and shoot.
Convincingly taking long range shots with an impressive 91 per cent accuracy rate, Griffin stepped up to the plate in sharing the load with Wilson against a tough defensive line-up.
Magic defender Kate Lloyd, who is another one of New Zealand's young rising stars, led her side in the defensive circle. By establishing pressure on the Stars' shooters, Lloyd helped ensure the Magic remained close on their opponents' heels.
She stepped up in the absence of captain Casey Kopua, whose season may be in doubt after she sat out with a foot injury suffered in warm-ups.
Despite missing their star skipper, the Magic closed the gap on the scoreboard at the start of the third quarter, and briefly snuck back in front.
But with Agbeze back on the court and Ellen Halpenny fresh in the shooting circle, the Stars continued to snatch and convert valuable ball while reclaiming and holding tightly to a narrow advantage.
Not willing to go down without a fight, the Magic put in a feisty effort in the final quarter as the tenacious Sam Sinclair led her side across the court. However, the Silver Fern's efforts weren't enough to damage the in-form Stars as the Northern side dominated the final minutes of the clash to claim another home victory.
While banking a much-needed two points, the Stars will remain at the bottom of the Premiership ladder, just behind the Mystics.
However, they will have an opportunity to overtake their Northern rivals on Sunday afternoon when the two teams meet at Auckland's Trusts Arena.