The Robinhood Stars have have been pipped 54-51 by the MG Mystics in their ANZ Premiership encounter in Auckland.

The result saw the Mystics retain the Barfoot and Thompson Northern Challenge trophy with a second win over the Stars.

The performance was much improved from the Stars' last outing against the Mystics, which they lost by 24 goals.

The first quarter set the tone for a pulsating contest - both teams playing controlled and slick netball as they traded goals throughout the period.

The Stars showed poise with ball in hand and were happy to slowly work the ball into the shooting circle and their patience was rewarded with better looks at goal which resulted in points on the board.

Maia Wilson produced one of her best quarters of the season, muscling up in the circle and fighting for possession, while netting 12 of her 13 goals for the quarter.

The defensive pairing of Anna Harrison and Elle Temu swamped the Mystics shooting duo of Grace Nweke and Monica Falkner and missed multiple intercept opportunities by the tips of their fingers, as the Mystics took a 16-14 lead in to the second period. 

The second quarter was a scrappy affair from both outfits. Passes were forced much more than in the opening stanza and the Stars were guilty of giving up some cheap possession and were punished by the Mystics who pushed their lead out to as many as eight.

An ounce of complacency appeared to creep in for the Mystics and amongst consistent pressure from the Stars defence, they gave up possession on multiple occasions and allowed the Stars to work their way back into the game.

The composure that was lacking at the start of the quarter returned for the Stars and suddenly they had cut the deficit to just three goals at half-time - trailing 28-25 at the break. 

The Stars pushed hard and upped the intensity on defence in the third quarter and managed to force turnovers out of the Mystics. The Stars were unable to convert the turnovers into goals at crucial moments.

The Mystics extended their lead midway through the period, but the Stars came back and showcased resilience - pulling together and heading into the final quarter trailing 44-39.

The Stars hung tough in the final quarter and fought to the very end. Pressure resulted in turnovers and the Stars kept coming back when they looked down and out.

The Stars set up a grandstand finish, with a series of goals cutting the gap to just two points with less than three minutes left on the clock. While agonisingly close, the Stars couldn't quite edge their noses in front, with the Mystics winning 54-51 at the final whistle.

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