Steel overcomes halftime deficit

Lenize Potgieter
Lenize Potgieter
The Southern Steel rebounded from a hefty loss to claim a 60-58 win over the Northern Stars in Auckland yesterday, in what may well be a defining victory.

It was a hard-fought win, each team responding to its mistakes and preventing the other from capitalising.

The most either led by was four, typical of their encounters. Three of their last five match-ups have been decided by two goals, while the others had margins of three and six.

However, this one was significant.

In the tough games this season the Steel had faltered three times - including once to the Stars.

Yesterday, it showed it was capable of executing when things got close.

Lenize Potgieter 's introduction in the third quarter was pivotal. The goal shoot replaced Jennifer O'Connell - who started her first game of the season - and shot an impressive 22/24 in the second half.

That helped propel the Steel ahead, after it trailed 30-26 at her introduction.

It hauled in the deficit and led by one at the final break.

Two turnovers from Stars' centre passes allowed the Steel to open a four-goal gap midway through the fourth.

The Stars fired back late, making for tense final few minutes, but a Te Paea Selby-Rickit goal in the final minute gave the Steel breathing space.

It had been similarly tense early on and nothing separated the teams in the first quarter.

Both showed fight and would not let the other capitalise on a mistake.

Every time the ball was turned over, or a shot missed, the other's defence came up with a stop.

The Steel finally scored twice in a row when Selby-Rickit made it 13-12.

However, it was unable to score off its centre pass and the Stars pulled back.

It took until the last play of the quarter for the Steel to gain an advantage.

Abby Erwood came up with an intercept and a Selby-Rickit goal gave it a 15-14 lead.

But the Steel turned it over after the first centre pass of the second quarter and the Stars equalised. That sparked a mini-run, as the Stars opened a 19-16 lead.

The Steel equalised, but the Stars reopened the gap and reached its biggest lead at 23-19, a deficit which remained at halftime.

Potgieter's introduction added spark and she shot 14/15 in the third quarter.

At the other end, the Stars attack began ever so slightly to waver.

In a tight game that made a big difference.

Three quick Potgieter goals brought the deficit back to two, before a Wilson miss allowed the Steel to even things up.

A Hodges miss shortly afterwards then let the Steel pull back in front and it ended the quarter ahead 45-44.

From there the Steel took its chance after two sloppy centre passes from the Stars.

It opened a four-goal gap and while the Stars fought back, the Steel showed composure in the final minutes to close out the win.


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