The Robinhood Stars have locked up a spot in the ANZ Premiership finals after a thrilling 62-60 extra-time triumph over the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in Invercargill.

The result means the Stars can finish no lower than third with two games left in the regular season.

The Stars made a polished start to the match, smothering the Steel on defence and converting their opportunities to lead by as many as five goals midway through the quarter.

The Stars scored off their seven first quarter turnovers and showed fluidity at the attacking end, with Maia Wilson automatic inside the shooting circle, while assisted well by her partner in crime Jamie Hume.

The Stars were then guilty of pushing passes that weren't necessarily there and the Steel pounced - closing the gap late in the period, with the Stars ahead 13-11 at quarter-time,

The Steel then continued to take hold of the momentum swing and were forcing the Stars to work hard for every goal and punishing Stars mistakes. Steel shooter George Fisher was perfect in the shooting circle, netting 22 first half goals.

The Stars still showed bright signs in the second quarter, with Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan injecting their pace into the contest, with many swift replies coming from Steel goals. 

Elle Temu came off in the first quarter with an ankle injury, but returned in the second quarter to maintain her connection with Anna Harrison and latched onto a couple of intercepts, while Holly Fowler was a nuisance in the wing defence bib too.

The Steel finished the quarter strong and went into the second half up 28-27.

The third quarter was a dogged affair, with both teams stubborn in amongst the arm wrestle for possession and momentum. 

The Steel remained solid on attack and despite the Stars doing all they could to disrupt them, the Steel still put the ball through the net led by Fisher.

The Stars began to feel some scoreboard pressure and were loose in areas with ball in hand which allowed the Steel to build a three goal advantage, heading into the last quarter ahead

The fourth quarter had the tension of a final, as the Stars desperately tried to reel in the lead as they contested a desperate Steel team and a ticking clock.

The Stars suffocated the Steel in amongst each possession and were rewarded with some timely turnovers as they slowly chipped away at the deficit. 

The Steel kept their noses in front with a one-goal lead and with the Stars running out of time, the ever-present Temu made one final lunge at a contestable pass and nabbed yet another turnover.

The Stars showed poise and found the ball into the shooting circle, with Hume hitting the shot under pressure to send an enthralling game to extra-time with the scores level at 56-all after normal time.  

The Stars started overtime in the best possible way, with Temu snatching yet another intercept, as the Stars took an early two-goal advantage.

The Steel dug deep though and forced turnovers of their own and suddenly held a one-goal lead which they would carry into the second and final extra-time period.

The Stars held centre pass for the final period and teams traded goals back and forth, before pressure showed and the Stars were rewarded with another vital turnover and with the Stars going on a run and pulling out to a two-goal lead, took over the contest, breaking Steel hearts and securing a famous 62-60 victory. 

The Stars finished the game with a perfect 17 goals from turnovers, with 14 defensive gains coming throughout the contest.

Gina Crampton was named player of the match for another industrious display, where she had 29 goal assist and controlled pace at key moments and split the Steel defence on numerous occasions with accurate passes. 

The Stars play their final two games of the regular season this week, with a visit from the Splice Construction Magic on Wednesday, then a rematch against the Steel at home on Thursday.

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