Last week the Stars gained their first win over the Tactix but from the opening whistle on Wednesday never looked like footing it with the experienced Mystics side, who banked their maiden victory of the season after losses to the Central Pulse and unbeaten Southern Steel.
Silver Ferns defender Anna Harrison and shooter Maria Tutaia were to the fore as the Mystics blew the Stars away early. The visitors scored seven unanswered goals in a six minute blitz in the first quarter - a dominant run that forced Stars coach Julie Hoornweg to bench Silver Ferns shooter Maia Wilson and centre Fa’amu Ioane.
Fijian import Afa Rusivakula and Emma Iverson, who replaced Ioane, made an immediate impact but the Stars were always chasing the game. Trailing by nine goals at the end of the first quarter, they never recovered.
Harrison’s long limbs made life difficult for the Stars young shooting circle, finishing with five intercepts and six deflections. She really was a relentless, disruptive presence throughout.
The Mystics midcourt - the dynamic Elisapeta Toeava and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson in particular - led the speed push through court. Sokolich-Beatson’s hunger and hustle was evident in everything she did; Toeava’s vision exposed space.
Tutaia, as she always does, made shooting long bombs look easy on her way to 33/40. Bailey Mes also had 25/29.
The Mystics produced moments of magic but they, too, lacked consistency and execution.
It remains clear the Stars are still finding their feet and attempting to develop cohesive combinations. They launched fightbacks, taking the third quarter 14-12. But in the overall scheme of things it meant little. The volume and accuracy of their shooting was well down on where it needs to be at this level, as was their staggering turnover count (32).
Both teams, in fact, were sloppy for large periods, committing 59 turnovers between them.
The final margin was reflective of the gulf in class between the two teams but on the evidence of this encounter, neither could claim to be genuine contenders.