Consistency for entire game Bloxham's goal for Steel

Reinga Bloxham.
Reinga Bloxham.
Reinga Bloxham has a very clear focus and that has not changed.

Consistency for an entire game remains her goal for the Southern Steel.

The need for it has become even more evident over the past week.

A thrashing by the Central Pulse and a tight win over the Northern Stars gave the Steel its toughest five-day stretch of the ANZ Premiership.

At times it executed well in both games. But it had been sloppy at others.

It showed itself capable of competing with the Pulse for periods, but two lulls left it on the wrong end of a 66-50 scoreline.

Minimising those lulls was key.

While glad to close out a 60-58 win over the Stars, Bloxham said there was still plenty of room for the side to grow.

''We still haven't had a full 60-minute performance this year.

''If we can string one of those together against a team like the Pulse, I think we'd be unstoppable.

''That's probably our biggest work-on at the moment, to make sure everything we're doing is really consistent and concise and accurate.''

Sunday's win over the Stars had been a boost for the team's confidence.

It was the first close game the Steel had won this year, showing itself capable of closing out a tight one.

However, Bloxham was not going as far as saying it was a boost for the playoffs.

While the teams are in second and third place, she did not think the match-up was yet a lock.

The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Northern Mystics had both found winning form recently and have games in hand over the Stars.

She felt both remained capable of taking the third playoff spot.

However, the win had been significant for the Steel's mindset heading into its final six games.

''Mentally, it's really good. It puts us in a good space going forward and reminds us of the things we are good at.

''Particularly in that last quarter, we got that lead and we were just able to hold it.

''We were pretty careful with that possession we had, just to take that right until the end was a real positive after that Pulse game.''

Confidence had also played a role in the notable change to the starting line-up.

Jennifer O'Connell started her first game of the season at goal shoot ahead of Lenize Potgieter.

Bloxham said it was important to give her the opportunity in order to maintain her confidence.

She had been pleased with how O'Connell played, given the circumstances of coming into the line-up with minimal recent game time.

Potgieter's introduction at halftime coincided with the Steel's comeback.

While that familiarity had been part of the reason, Bloxham also felt the rest of the team had responded well after a cluster of errors to end the first half.

The side now has another long gap before its next game on Wednesday next week against the Northern Mystics in Dunedin.

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