Stars hold off Mystics to book spot in ANZ Premiership final

Source: 1News

The Stars have held off their cross-town rivals to book a place in this year's ANZ Premiership final, taking down the Mystics 63-57 on Wednesday night.

Jamie Hume and Amorangi Malesala celebrate after beating the Mystics.

Playing the elimination final at Pulman Arena, the Mystics entered the game with some renewed optimism despite their recent form with the return of young Silver Ferns star Grace Nweke.

Coming off an ankle injury, Nweke came off the bench to rack up 45 minutes in her return and put up an impressive scoreline of 45-from-49 for a 92% shooting performance.

Grace Namana started in Nweke's place for the match and also delivered for the Mystics, scoring eight-from-eight in her 15 minutes.

Despite the efforts in the circle, it wasn't enough for the defending champions to return to the final.

The Stars' defence made crucial stops throughout the game and were backed by an equally-impressive shooting performance from Maia Wilson at the other end who shot 95% on the evening with 42-from-44.

That helped the Stars carve out a 16-10 lead at the end of the first quarter which they then extended to 33-23 by half time.

The Mystics responded fiercely in the third quarter though, outscoring the Stars 20-15 to cut the deficit to five heading into the final 15 minutes but the Stars managed to up their defensive intensity once more and held on for the win.

As a result, the Stars will now go on to face the Pulse in Sunday's grand final who they've managed to beat twice this season in three contests.