A final quarter flurry has helped the Robinhood Stars notch up a vital 49-44 ANZ Premiership victory over the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in Wellington.
The victory is the Stars' seventh of the season and sees them remain in third spot on the ladder - equal on 22 points with the Pulse.
Yesterday's win over the Splice Construction Magic saw Storm Purvis answer the SOS and today it was another foundation player in Leana de Bruin who pulled on the purple dress again after answering the call from coach Kiri Wills.
The first quarter was a dogged affair with both teams fighting to gain ascendancy throughout as the tension was evident all around TSB Bank Arena.
While far from polished in the first spell, the Stars showed grit and determination in all facets of play, if cheap ball was given away they'd work hard to get it back and when they took a breath and remain composed, goals were easy to come by.
Maia Wilson found herself in a relentless tussle with Pulse goal keep Kelly Jury and while Jury looked to have the upper hand, Wilson adapted well, found space and scored goals alongside Jamie Hume as the Stars led 12-10 at quarter time.
Both teams were hungry for ball in the second quarter and the Stars were rewarded for their tenacity by forcing multiple turnovers. Unfortunately communication broke down in the front third of the court and the Pulse were able to wrestle back possession and make it count before edging out to a three goal lead midway through the quarter.
The Stars refused to fold though and staged a comeback of their own and with links coming together and more turnovers forced, the Stars chipped away at the deficit before tying the match 23-all at half-time.
Defensive trio de Bruin, Elle Temu and Holly Fowler combined well, with effective communication resulting in multiple gains and forcing the Pulse to work hard to get ball into the shooting circle.
The third quarter was pulsating, as the Stars tried to take control of the game and heap pressure on the Pulse.
It became Temu time at the back, as Elle Temu latched onto multiple Pulse feeds and snapped up three crucial gains and two intercepts as the Stars built continuity and finished at the shooting end to take a valuable lead.
Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan were measured with ball in hand and found Wilson and her new shooting partner Amorangi Malesala in the circle. The pair had a solid conversion rate and would go into the fourth quarter with the Stars ahead 36-34.
The Stars produced one of their best quarters of the season to finish the contest - stunning the Pulse into submission with a ruthless run of five consecutive goals to streak away and lead by seven goals midway through the final stanza.
Malesala and Wilson iced some big time shots off the back of some forced turnovers and while the Pulse tried to return serve, the Stars maintained their composure to the final whistle and claimed an important win.
The Stars finished the game with 16 gains and forced 22 Pulse turnovers, which played a big part in setting up the victory.
Temu stepped it up yet again and shone with six crucial deflections, while Reuelu-Buchanan was named player of the match for an industrious effort which saw her set the pace of play and be in amongst everything while sparking the attack and create pressure on defence all game.
The Stars will welcome the chance to head home and rest up before hosting the MG Mystics in a week's time on Sunday.