Selby-Rickit faces serious challenge from Stars

No way.

Not this time.

The Steel slumped to a 59-45 loss to the Northern Stars the last time the sides met.

Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
That was bad enough but for experienced defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit there was another very annoying statistic to emerge from the round four match.

The Stars put up 78 shots.

Selby-Rickit is still grumpy about that tally. It is a lot higher than she is comfortable with.

The Stars did not have a good shooting night, really. They landed a shade over 75% of their attempts but were able to ease to a victory thanks to the amount of shots they put up.

Selby-Rickit’s firm mission is to keep the number the Stars attempt at the Edgar Centre this evening to a much, much smaller number.

If she can do that then the Steel’s prospects for recording a fourth consecutive win will rise significantly.

‘‘They obviously had way too much time and got in [to the circle] way too easily to put up 78 shots in a game,’’ Selby-Rickit said.

‘‘It does not matter what your shooting stats are if you can put up that many shots. That is just too much volume and we’ve got to shut that down.

‘‘There are a lot of areas we have to work on from that game,’’ she said with a sigh.

‘‘But if we can be just a little bit better in the defensive area, hopefully we’ll be able to contest the game.’’

The Steel has been a lot better since that defeat. It is in third place with six wins from nine games.

Selby-Rickit’s combination with Taneisha Fifita in the defensive circle has been pretty solid on the whole.

Down the other end the Steel has ace shooter George Fisher who has been instrumental in its three-game winning-streak.

‘‘We were winning, losing, winning, losing and stuck in that pattern,’’ Selby-Rickit said.

‘‘So we are really happy, but we can’t sit back.’’

The Steel scored the last seven goals to beat the Tactix 47-45 on Monday and edged the Magic by one goal the previous week when Fisher rebounded her own missed shot to sink the game-winner.

Those wins have given the side a surge of confidence but the Stars have been the benchmark this season.

They lead the standings with seven wins from nine games.

‘‘We had an ugly game against them and did some uncharacteristic things. But they kind of make you do that.

‘‘They are a quality side who are just great throughout the court. But we hope we’ve got better than we were in that game.

‘‘We want to win but if we can keep improving that is probably the main thing.’’

One the key match ups for the Steel will be how they contain former team-mate Gina Crampton. The wing-attack is one of the best in the world and facing her is a tough defensive assignment.

Centre Kate Heffernan might have to drop back to wing-defence and use her long limbs to try to upset Crampton’s feeds.

‘‘With Gina it is up to the team. You can’t just say, ‘Kate, your job is Gina and you can take care of her’ because that is really tough. We’ll all have to work together and, if she is in your area, you take her.’’

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