Steele won the Georgie Salter Memorial Trophy tonight in Dunedin after losing 64-48 to the Northern Mystics.
The Steeles lost the second quarter, 19-9, trailing just two points at halftime. The Mystics gave punishment across the court and across the post.
They were without captain Sulu Fitzpatrick, who suffered a knee injury last week, but it didn’t matter.
Phoenix Karaka moved to the back, and young Caris Styce’s long arms moved forward causing trouble.
Savior Tui remained a solid target in the back and her combination with Georgia Heffernan continued to grow.
It was a much better performance than their 64-38 loss in Round 1, but it was the lack of consistency that disappointed Steele.
Even with players picking up the ball, they struggled to put pressure on the scoreboard, and the defense that was evident early on outside the circle quickly dropped.
Steele kept the same line-up as last week and got off to a great start.
The intensity was intense and the players valued their possessions and scored goals.
Mystics broke through in the 7th minute to take a 16-14 lead by two points.
It was the second quarter that changed the game.
Mystics took advantage of Steel’s misplaced ball to take an early lead at 21-16.
The visitors’ ball speed killed steals going through the court, and the pressure from the front of the circle dropped the players in pursuit mode.
Peta Toeava’s ability to change direction at speed, front cut a defender to take a short ball and bomb it into Grace Nweke was lethal.
She used to dictate the offensive line aloud to alter the angle and tempo of the game.
There is no stopping them once the Mystic rolls on and the ball bombs into the circle.
The feed to Steel Shooter could have come in earlier, making that opening harder to find without the first option.
Mystics took the penalty and led 35-23 at the break.
Sam Winders and Kate Heffernan switched positions in the third quarter, with Winders moving to center, but it worked.
Kate Heffernan’s arm made it difficult for Mystic feeders to find Nuweke.
Kate Burley made a nice interception and drew several penalties against Nuweke to get the ball back.
The feed entered the shooter early and had more flow on the attack.
Lenny Savainaia, traditionally a wing defender, entered the game with a wing attack that helped change the timing.
She sifted through space with Winders putting on muscle to find the edge of the circle and helped Steele, who lost the third quarter by just four.
He picked up a ton of balls on defense and picked up the intensity again to tie the quarter.
https://www.odt.co.nz/sport/netball/steel-fades-against-punishing-mystics Steel fades against punishing Mystic