In a closely contested match, the AVIS Magic emerged victorious with a 51-47 win over the Stars in Tauranga on Saturday, securing their third spot on the table. Despite the loss, the Stars managed to earn their ninth bonus point of the ANZ Premiership season, a new record for the competition.

The game was critical for both teams: an outright win was necessary for the Stars to keep their Finals Series hopes alive, while the Magic were determined to extend their winning streak. The importance of the match was evident as both teams delivered a thrilling performance, with the lead swinging back and forth throughout the game. Shooting accuracy was a decisive factor, with the Magic taking 58 shots to the Stars' 57.

Monica Falkner got the start at goal attack while Tori Kolose (wing attack) and Holly Mather (centre) continued their budding midcourt relationship.

The teams played out an enthralling first half during which momentum ebbed and flowed, allowing for one side to dominate for a spell before the other charged back to keep the game on an edge. Terrific defence from both sets of in-circle defenders meant patience and accuracy were required as the flow from both teams was slowed. The Stars pair of Holly Fowler and Kate Burley, in her 100th national league match, kept Magic's  Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Saviour Tui under close wraps. Meanwhile, Georgia Takarangi and Erena Mikaere created challenges for Maia Wilson and Falkner.

A couple of quick intercepts by Takarangi gave the Magic a slight advantage, ending the first break with a narrow 13-12 lead.

The second quarter mirrored the first, with a goal-for-goal start. The Magic managed to build a five-goal lead through fewer errors, strong defense, and the accurate shooting of Ekenasio and Tui. However, the Stars fought back, driven by Amorangi Malesala's long shots and Wilson's playmaking, aided by the introduction of goalkeeper Lili Tokaduadua. This effort resulted in a drawn quarter, with the Magic holding a slim 26-25 lead at halftime.

The intensity escalated in the third quarter as both teams continued to battle fiercely. A brief surge by the Magic was quickly countered by the Stars. Ekenasio and wing attack Claire O’Brien played pivotal roles for the Magic, while Mikaere, Takarangi, and Georgie Edgecombe's relentless defense pressured the Stars into mistakes. The Magic ended the third quarter with a 40-35 lead after scoring the last five goals.

With Tokaduadua making a strong impression, the Stars were out of the blocks quickly, a storming start in the final push to line helping them level up the scores, the twists and turns remaining until the final whistle in an exciting spectacle, with the Magic ultimately securing the win.

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