The Stars have fought hard to the end but come up short with a 52-49 ANZ Premiership loss to the AVIS Magic in Auckland.

Both teams came out determined to collect a first win of the season and build some much needed momentum after a mixed start to their campaigns.

The Stars endured a frustrating first half where they made a lot of encouraging plays on defence and dug their nails into the contest, but couldn't quite maximise their two for one opportunities in order to gain the ascendancy.

Playing in her 100th national league match, Holly Fowler was relentless on defence hunting for ball alongside Kate Burley and the combined pressure across the court forced 12 Magic turnovers in the first half.

Holly Mather took to the court in the second quarter for her Stars debut at wing defence, while former Stars shooter Monica Falkner was also injected into the game alongside Maia Wilson in her first game since giving birth last year.

The Stars were unlucky to lose a lot of 50/50 contests and were still well and truly in the game, but with just a 38% turnover to goal ratio, found themselves down 30-24 at half-time.

Similar trends continued in the second half, with the Stars winning ball and heaping pressure on the Magic, but were unable to make it count and the Magic would gleefully take their get out of jail free cards and keep the score ticking over.

The Stars entered the final period trailing by five goals and came out with new energy, trying to do all they could to pull back the deficit.

The Mather sisters swapped bibs, with Lisa moving to wing defence and Holly taking up the centre position.

The Magic started to show cracks late in the quarter, with the Stars rewarded for their tenacity with multiple turnovers forced allowing them to pull within just one goal.

Unfortunately the Stars couldn't quite manage to fully capitalise when it came to crunch time and the Magic kept their noses in front and made it over the finish line with a 52-49 victory. 

The Stars can be proud of their ruthlessness on defence and ability to win ball, with 14 deflections forced throughout the match.

Holly Mather was impressive in her first Stars appearance, with two intercepts and three total gains, while Holly Fowler showed her experience in her milestone match, working tirelessly and coming up with three gains and an intercept and a number of deflections. 

Maia Wilson had a strong game floating between goal shoot and goal attack and provided the glue at the shooting end - netting 28 of her 30 attempts on goal.

The Stars are off to the deep south next weekend to face the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in Invercargill.

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