Southern Steel extended their unbeaten trans-Tasman netball league run to four matches with an emphatic 67-54 win over Central Pulse in Invercargill on Sunday.
With their only hiccup a 58-58 round two draw with Mainland Tactix, the Steel are now four points clear of the second-placed Pulse at the top of the New Zealand conference.
Central Pulse could find no way to slow down the Steel’s steady supply of ball into towering goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, with the Jamaican international having no difficulty in dominating prime position under the post.
In contrast, the Pulse had to battle the Steel’s stifling midcourt defence and struggled to find shooters Maia Wilson and Ameliaranne Wells with any consistency.
Coming off a runaway 63-53 win over the Magic last week, the Steel looked confident on attack right from the outset.
Their midcourt found clean lines into Fowler-Reid, who shot 41 from 47 over four quarters, while goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit had possibly her best game of the season to date.
She sunk 25 of her 28 attempts, and played a key role further upcourt in combining with centre Shannon Francois and wing attack Gina Crampton.
Pulse shooters Wilson and Wells both shot well, Wilson sinking 33 from 35 and Wells 21 of 25.
But the accuracy and quality of ball into them was patchy at best, and they shot under huge pressure from Jane Watson and Storm Purvis, who generated a ready supply of turnover ball.
Watson in particular impressed, snaring seven intercepts and seven deflections which were then clinically converted by Fowler-Reid and Selby-Rickit.
Ahead 17-13 at the end of the first quarter and 30-27 at halftime, the Steel powered away to win the third quarter 18-12 and lead 48-39 with 15 minutes remaining.
The home team delivered more of the same in the final stanza, coach Noeline Taurua emptying her bench as the Steel opened out to take the spell 19-15 and shut out the win.