Mystics deliver the weekend’s sole tight finish

AS the ANZ Premiership season reached its halfway point over the weekend, all the results seemed to follow a pattern.

Well, almost all of them.

In one tight result of the weekend, it was the Mystics who pinched a win over the Magic at the absolute death.

After the Magic dominated early, the Mystics worked their way back into the game and pinched it at the absolute death.

After capitalising on a rare Grace Nweke miss, it was the Magic who were the first to pinch a goal off the opponent’s centre pass. They then scored off the next centre pass to consolidate their lead.

That would not be the last the time the Magic would do that in the opening term, as Nweke had the jitters early in front of goal which allowed the Magic to race out to a handy early lead.

That lead got out to as much as six goals but the Mystics then finally kicked into gear and got to work reducing the deficit. Particularly Erena Mikaere, but the whole Magic defence, held up really strongly, and ensured the Magic still held a four goal lead at the first change.

The Magic were the ones to get the better start of the two sides in the second term as their lead stretched back out to as much as nine goals, and then even 10 goals as the quarter entered its final stages.

The Magic really had their visitors on the ropes for much of the quarter, as they were capitalising on every lose ball in defence and not giving the Mystics any of the same opportunities up the other end.

However just like the first term, the Mystics had a late quarter fightback, which saw the margin back down to six goals at the main break.

The third quarter saw the Mystics finally show their strength and really get back into the game.

Slowly but surely, the deficit that was once double digits earlier in the match was down to a mere single goal at stages in the last quarter.

It was tight for much of the quarter, but then thanks to a call going their way in defence, the Mystics were able to finally level it up and then take the lead inside the final minute of the term.

The Mystics got the better of the starts to the final quarter, but the Magic were certainly not going to go away without a fight, and managed to level up proceedings again shortly after.

With 36 seconds left to go though, the score was dead even and the energy in the arena lifted significantly. The Mystics played the ball around well and killed time well, but after Nweke had two missed shots, it looked like things were going to remain drawn. However, a dying second contact call against the Magic defenders saw Nweke slot one in and pinch it at the absolute death.

For the Mystics, Nweke was a workhorse under the ring and did the bulk of the shooting load, even with a surprisingly high number of misses for her standard. Elisapeta Toeava (43 feeds, 29 assists, one intercept and a gain) was also a workhorse in midcourt.

Meanwhile for the Magic Georgie Edgecombe (30 feeds, 18 assists) had a busy day, while Mikaere (five gains, five deflections, one intercept) was solid in defence.

In other results:

  • In the second Grand Final rematch of the season, it was the reigning champions in the Pulse who were victorious, downing the Stars by 14 goals.

The margin was only three goals at quarter time, but a 16-goal-to-seven second term was where the game really opened up.

For the Pulse, Kelly Jury (five gains, four deflections, two intercepts) was a rock in defence, and was backed up by the likes of Maddy Gordon (33 feeds, 21 assists, two deflections, one gain) and Whitney Souness (34 feeds, 15 assists, one deflection, one intercept, one gain) further up court.

Meanwhile for the Stars Gina Crampton (46 feeds, 26 assists) was a workhorse in midcourt, while Elle Temu (four deflections, three gains and an intercept) had a solid game in defence.

  • The Tactix kept the Steel’s winless run in tact, this time inflicting a 13 goal defeat on them.

The Tactix already lead by five goals at the first change, but after restricting the Steel to nine goals in each of the next two quarters while scoring 14 and 17 themselves the fact that the Steel won the last quarter by five did not matter.

For the Tactix, Aliyah Dunn did not miss a shot all night on her way to 40 goals, while Karin Burger (five gains, four intercepts, three deflections) and Kimiora Poi (34 feeds, 18 assists) also had a great game.

Meanwhile for the visitors Kate Burley (seven deflections, four gains, two intercepts) starred in defence, while Georgia Heffernan (24 goals from 28 attempts, 15 feeds, 12 assists, one intercept, one gain) had a busy afternoon.

  • The Magic bounced back in their second match of the weekend while denying the Stars a second win for the weekend, downing them by 14 goals.

The first quarter was tight, but the Stars dropped off on the scoreboard in the second and third terms, allowing the Magic to steam ahead.

Bailey Mes (54 goals from 58 attempts, nine feeds, five assists) and Mikaere (five gains, three deflections, one intercept) starred for the Magic, while Crampton (34 feeds, 22 assists) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (40 feeds, 27 assists, one deflection, one intercept, one gain) were among the best for the Stars.

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