In the spotlight: Ellen Halpenny

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For the Mercury Energy Tactix to improve on their one win, goal shooter Ellen Halpenny must be at her best. This week's game against the Haier Pulse provides the perfect opportunity to boost her current shooting percentage of 73.7% and get the Tactix over the line.

Ellen Halpenny, the 185cm Mercury Energy Tactix goal shooter and New Zealand under-21 representative, is enjoying her first full season on court. The 20 year-old played only two games in 2009, but has so far played every match for the Tactix in season 2010. Whilst being consistent during this time, she needs to take her game to the next level in order to set the foundations for the Tactix to record their second win of the year.

The Tactix recorded its only win of the season against the Haier Pulse back in Round 1, where Halpenny scored an impressive 39 goals from 50 attempts, an accuracy of 78%, and a total of 72% of the Tactix goals for the match. In Round 3, Halpenny shone brightly again, with the Tactix losing by only three points against the currently undefeated NSW Swifts. She scored 58% of her teams score and recorded a massive 94% shooting percentage, with 31 goals from 33 attempts. In Round 6, when the Tactix came within nine points of the LG Northern Mystics, 64% of the Tactix's score came from Halpenny, shooting 32 from 37 attempts.

In short, if she scores over 30 goals, records a shooting percentage in excess of 80%, and contributes at least 60% of the total score, the Tactix will either win or come perilously close.

Halpenny is a close range player, currently scoring 83% (161) of her goals from under the ring, at 76% shooting accuracy, and has scored only 32 goals from long bombs, at a low accuracy of 62%. If she can increase her short range percentage to over 80%, and her long range percentage to over 65%, Halpenny can cement a position as one the shooters to keep an eye on in the future.

Halpenny also has room for improvement in her general play. She has recorded six goal assists, 18 rebounds, two intercepts and four deflections so far in season 2010. Whilst these are still solid numbers, an increase in her involvement and supporting role within the shooting circle with further benefit the Tactix.

The Mercury Energy Tactix can go a long way to winning their second game of the season this weekend against the Haier Central Pulse if Halpenny can achieve similar numbers to those in the Tactix Round 1 win, and the two close losses in Round 3 and Round 6.
Her shooting is vital to the Tactix success, and a bottom of the table clash could be just the game she needs to recapture some of the form that everyone knows she is capable of.

Regardless of what happens this weekend, Ellen Halpenny is one of the games' brightest young players. If she can continue to improve, she will no doubt be a shooting star of the future.