ANZ Premiership power ranking: Stars’ grip on first place loosens after loss to Mystics
Andrew Cornaga / Photosport
Northern Mystics Shootout Grace Nweke scores a shot in their victory against the Stars.
NOTICE: The eighth round of the ANZ Premiership was refreshing, as the six teams faced the only opponent they had yet to face in 2021.
The Northern Mystics handed the Stars their second loss of the season, closing the gap at the top of the ladder to just one point.
But while that moved them in Things In the ANZ Premiership power rankings, it wasn’t enough for them to move their rivals out of crosstown.
* ANZ Premiership: Grace Nweke excels in Mystics’ lead win over Stars
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* Tactix wins Grand Final rematch to overtake Pulse in ANZ Premiership
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How are the other teams doing? Check it out below – and let us know what you think in the comments.
First on the scale: 6 wins, 2 losses; 19 points
This tour: Lost to Northern Mystics 60-63 in Auckland
If one of the teams below the Stars had a winning streak, Sunday’s loss might have been enough to knock them out of the top spot for the first time. Sadly, things are so tight that they stay there, despite losing to their crosstown rivals, the Mystics. But their grip is looser than it’s ever been as they prepare for the rematch with the Pulse, which knocked them out two weeks ago.
Next round: Central Pulse at Pulman Arena, Auckland; Sunday, 6:15 p.m.
Mystics of the North
Second on the scale: 5 wins, 3 losses; 18 points
This tour: Beat the Stars 63-60 in Auckland
The result of Sunday’s game, however, was enough to push the Mystics to second place. Playing the Stars and beating them was a good sign for the Mystics over and over again, who were without two key intermediaries in Tayla Earle and Fa’amu Ioane, which made the victory all the more impressive. Now can they start and win back-to-back matches for the first time since the fourth round? They have magic, so they would be disappointed if they couldn’t.
Next round: Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton; Monday, 6:15 p.m.
Fourth on the scale: 4 wins, 4 losses; 14 points
This tour: Beat Central Pulse 55-52 in Christchurch
The Tactix rebounded well from their loss to the Stars in the seventh round to beat the Pulse comfortably enough in their first meeting of the season – and their first meeting since last year’s grand finale. It was an important victory, and they edged out Steel despite falling behind on the ladder for two reasons. One, because they won the head-to-head two weeks ago, and two, because their wins only include one against the Magic. But that could change when they meet again on Monday night.
Next round: Southern Steel in Trafalgar Center, Nelson; Monday, 8:15 p.m.
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Third on the scale: 5 wins, 3 losses; 15 points
This tour: Defeat Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 59-58 in Dunedin
The Steels made it through their teeth on Sunday and avoided becoming the first team to lose to the Magic since the first round of the ANZ Premiership season. But they’ll need to be better when they travel to Nelson to face the Tactix on Monday. Every game has a lot to do, given how tight things are this season, but especially when two of the teams in the mid-table group come together.
Next round: Mainland Tactix at the Trafalgar Center, Nelson; Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Fifth on the scale: 3 wins, 5 losses; 13 points
This tour: Lost to Mainland Tactix 52-55 in Christchurch
Two of the three Pulse wins this year came from the last Magic. The other came against the stars at the top of the ladder. If you have an explanation for this, please do not hesitate to share it with me. Whatever the cause, the Pulse would love another victory against the Stars when they meet for the third time this season in Auckland on Sunday, after losing to the Tactix last Saturday. Otherwise, another bonus point would help them keep in touch between the loser of Steel and the Tactix.
Next round: Stars at Pulman Arena, Auckland; Sunday, 6:15 p.m.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic
Sixth in the standings: 1 win, 7 losses; 6 points
This tour: Lost to Southern Steel 58-59 in Dunedin
The Magic will shake at least one of the final hopes of the other five teams. And it was so close to being Steel on Sunday, before the Southerners won by just one goal. Putting Caitlin Bassett up front and center seems to have worked for the Magic, who also welcomed defenseman Holly Fowler after a lengthy injury layoff. Then they face the Mystics, whom they have already beaten this season, which they cannot say about any other team.
Next round: Northern Mystics at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton; Monday, 6:15 p.m.