Western have continued to improve as they picked up their second win in as many national provincial championship games, beating Eastern in Napier yesterday.
After beating Southland in the first round, coach John Atkins wanted an improvement and he certainly got it as they comfortably beat Eastern 66-39.
"We were firing," Atkins said.
"I think that we stepped up both on our attack and through-court defence and certainly made a big difference.
"Eastern had a reasonably good midcourt, they were quite lively through there but I guess we had the experience at either end in the circles."
With players like Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Lauren Burgess, Chantelle Ngaia, Amber Bellringer and Erika Maifea leading the team well, Atkins was pleased with the way the side was going.
"There was certainly some improvement on the previous week," Atkins said.
"Much better flow from the attacking end.
"Lauren Burgess was particularly good at wing attack in the first half.
"Certainly our through-court defence took a step up from where it was last week.
"Good to see the things we were looking at improved."
Western started with the same team as last week but Atkins cleared the bench at halftime, bringing on Danielle Grey at goal defence, Heidi Kiser at centre, Rebecca Jury at goal shoot and Miriama Selby-Rickit at wing attack and goal attack.
Atkins said they would have to improve further when they played North, the other unbeaten side in division two, next weekend in Onewa.
Yesterday, the Western shooters again did well, with Ngaia missing only once as they raced out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter.
Eastern put up a bit more fight in the second half but couldn't catch up to Western, with a drawn third quarter the best they could do.
"Eastern made a change and brought in a shooter at halftime who must have been about 6 foot 8," Atkins said.
"She was the only player I've seen taller that Te Huinga . . . she turned out to be their best."
In the other division two matches, Southland beat Tasman 52-42 and North beat Counties-Manukau 49-45.
Western 66 (Chantelle Ngaia 25/26, Rebecca Jury 20/26, Amber Bellringer 17/22, Miriama Selby-Rickit 4/5) Eastern 39. Quarter scores: 16-8, 38-14, 51-27, 66-39.
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