The Robinhood Stars have faced another difficult challenge in their ANZ Premiership campaign - falling to the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse 56-46 in Auckland.
The Stars pushed hard all game, but turnovers and missed shots at goal cost them dearly as they were forced to chase the Pulse for the whole contest.
After a sloppy start to the opening quarter - the Stars were composed when the ball made its way to the attacking third, with some nice passing turning into goals.
The defensive pairing of Anna Harrison and Elle Temu were ravenous inside the defensive circle, picking up multiple gains and deflections and making the Pulse work hard for every single goal.
The Stars toiled throughout the second quarter, but were again guilty of giving away cheap ball and failing to convert a number of turnovers.
The defence worked hard all quarter and were eventually rewarded with some three-goal runs by the Stars, but the Pulse maintained their own defensive push and managed to extend their lead.
At risk of the game getting well beyond them and the deficit into double figures, the Stars fought hard and finished the quarter down by eight goals, with the Pulse ahead 28-20 at the half-time break.
With a decent deficit to try and haul in, the Stars tried to up the ante with ball in hand, but were often met with a yellow wall in the shape of the Pulse defence.
The Pulse capitalised on Stars errors and with shooter Aliyah Dunn near-faultless, extended their lead to as many as 15 goals midway through the period.
The Stars closed the gap slightly late in quarter, but the Pulse still held a handy 43-30 advantage after three quarters.
Intent on finishing the game strongly, the Stars failed to give up and showcased a strong fourth quarter.Passes stuck and composure returned, as the Stars made a positive push and building some much needed momentum - winning the final quarter 16-13.
Maia Wilson led from the front for the Stars and stood tall all game in the shooting circle. Wilson produced a composed performance, finishing the game with a 93 percent shooting record at 26 from 28.
The Stars defensive tenacity was still rewarded throughout, with 13 gains, as Anna Harrison and Elle Temu snapped up nine between them
The result sees the Stars drop to a three win, three loss record from six games played.
The two teams won't have to wait long to battle each other - with their next meeting on Sunday in Palmerston North, giving the Stars an opportunity to bounce back quickly.