The Robinhood Stars find themselves in an unfamiliar position ahead of their third meeting of the ANZ Premiership season with cross-city rivals the Northern Mystics.
The scars from giving up top spot on the competition ladder after a 65-57 loss to the Mystics less than a week ago are still on show and the Stars will be trying to do all they can to avoid a clean sweep of losses to the Mystics within the regular season.
It's the first time since round one that the Stars haven't been perched in the number one position, however if they can win and starve the Mystics of a bonus point they will reclaim top spot almost as quickly as they lost it.
Consistency has been the catch-cry from Stars captain Maia Wilson following the loss and ensuring they nail the “critical moments”. But the shooter was looking forward to having another crack at their biggest challengers so far.
“It’s a great opportunity,” she said of backing up against the Mystics. “We’ll be looking at a lot of analysis this week and in particular on ourselves – what we can tidy up in those critical moments.”
The Northern Mystics have two trophies in the cabinet this year - the Hobbiton Cup and the Barfoot & Thompson Northern Challenge - but their eyes are firmly on the big prize and a third straight win over the Stars would confirm their red-hot status for the ANZ Premiership title with the Finals Series on the horizon.
Captain Sulu Fitzpatrick said they had plenty to work on ahead of the match against the Stars and believed the score line - an eight-goal victory in Round 11 - didn’t reflect how hard it was to get that win.
“I know they’re going to come at us again,” she said.
Fitzpatrick said her side continued to focus on consistency on both attack and defence.
“We’re also trying to be better at being disciplined in terms of knowing whether you can contest the ball or not on D and then on attack, treasuring possession.”
ANZ Premiership Round 12: Robinhood Stars vs Northern Mystics- Sunday 4th July 4:15pm, Trusts Arena, Auckland