Steel stays calm, bags the win

Southern Steel wing attack Gina Crampton leaps to take the ball in front of Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic defenders Lisa Mather (left) and Hayley Saunders during an ANZ Premiership match at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin last night. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Southern Steel wing attack Gina Crampton leaps to take the ball in front of Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic defenders Lisa Mather (left) and Hayley Saunders during an ANZ Premiership match at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin last night. Photo: Peter McIntosh
There were a few nervous moments, but the Southern Steel got the job done.

It claimed a 64-60 win over the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic at the Edgar Centre last night, a clinical final five minutes proving the difference.

The score was locked at 46-46 heading into the final quarter, the momentum with the Magic. It had just mounted a run to overhaul a six-point deficit and get a nose in front for the first time.

But the Steel stayed calm.

The attack was clinical and looked after possession, while the fourth quarter shooting duo of Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Olivia Bates made 18 of its 20 goal attempts.

Meanwhile, the defence remained tenacious.

Courtney Elliott, in just her third game, came up with three big plays against her home town team while marking key goal shoot Lenize Potgieter.

They were key, giving the Steel the ball to edge in front in the final minutes.

It was a finish coach Reinga Bloxham was happy with, allowing the side to get back on track after dropping its last game.

''I think that was really pleasing,'' she said of the fourth quarter.

''The last couple of games there's been times when we could have pushed on and we haven't.

''So it was nice to see we could look after possession in those critical moment and just score.''

The Steel began well, shooting out to a 4-1 lead, which grew to 12-7 midway through the quarter. That was pegged back to 16-12 at the break.

The Magic lost tall defender Kelly Jury to a dislocated shoulder late in the quarter after a collision with Jennifer O'Connell.

She returned with her arm in a sling, having had it relocated pending further assessment today.

Minutes after that, South African goal shoot Potgieter made her own return from injury, entering at the start of the second quarter.

She made an immediate impact, her feeders finding her with ease to have the Magic back within one.

However, the Steel stemmed the flow and a tight battle ensued through the middle of the quarter.

As the Steel defence began to get on top again it extended the lead to six at one point and went to halftime at 32-28.

That margin returned to six early in the third, but it was the Magic that had the better of the quarter.

Its defence gained momentum late as the Steel attack began turning ball over.

The lead quickly evaporated and eventually vanished after Monica Falkner made it 41-41 with five minutes left in the quarter.

Potgieter put the Magic in front seconds later, but again the Steel stemmed the flow.

It went to the final break at 46-46, Te Paea Selby-Rickit shifting to goal shoot with four minutes to go.

That made for a tense final quarter, and while happy with the performance, Bloxham said there was still work to be done.

''It was a little bit patchy, but to be expected at this part of the season.

''We're still looking for consistency and getting our connections.

''Even though we've played together for a long time we haven't played together enough this season.

''So there's still plenty to work on, but overall some really good stuff.''

 

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