Pulse dominant in fourth quarter

THE Central Pulse have emerged victorious over the Mainland Tactix by nine points after a flurry of goals in the final five minutes saw the Pulse take advantage.

A 45-54 win to the Pulse edges them closer towards the minor premiership from the help of an 8-16 fourth quarter.

The Pulse have been relatively known to have really close games this season with six games being determined by one point, and they have featured in four of those. Furthermore, the Pulse have won two of those outings.

The Tactix had to face another tough defeat after being trampled by the Mystics by 24 goals 24 hours prior. It was clear that the quick turnaround affected all the players with tired hands and bodies in the fourth term coming to light. In the fourth quarter alone, the Tactix had four bad turnovers and the Pulse were able to capitalise down the other end.

Neither side was able to pull away until a held ball by Laura Malcolm on a centre pass in the fourth term ignited a seven goal run for the Pulse which saw the score blow out as quick as three and a half minutes. There were moments where both sides were going goal for goal, but the majority of the match consisted of little runs and several lead changes.

It was not all doom and gloom for the Tactix though with their outstanding defence in the first and third quarters not allowing the Pulse midcourters to play the speedy game that they would have liked. Kate Lloyd’s defensive pressure over the shot was stunning, blocking Tiana Metuarau’s (9 goals) first attempt and causing Amelia Walmsley (45) to miss nine goals. There was even a Harrison Hoist featured in the third quarter that worked perfectly for the Tactix.

Heading into half time, the Tactix were scoreless for 5:14 until an airball by Walmsley lit the Tactix defenders eyes up and sent the ball straight away into their scoring end with Te Paea Selby-Rickit slotting two in a row from far out.

A relatively clean first quarter composed of only six turnovers total with both sides keeping their contests relatively clean. As the game continued, the pressure amongst the players only escalated with two cautions and a warning handed out to Tactix players in the fourth quarter.

Selby-Rickit had an exceptional time in the goal circle, slotting all 27 of her goals from all around the circle and under pressure from the clock. Her shift back into goal shooter in the third term allowed her to focus more on her shot as she has a history of having the yips every now and then.

Player of the match Whitney Souness was a workhorse in attack and defence. She was able to pass and cut, and be an option easily anywhere in the attacking third whether that be in the pocket, on circle edge or up to the transverse line. It is the second phase receives that stands out for Souness. She was getting enough punch and depth through the court to be an option straight away for her teammates, while supplying the ball into her shooters with 43 feeds and 19 goal assists.

A late flourish of goals for the Pulse saw them get the upper hand over the Tactix until they meet again in Round 12, the last round of the regular season.

Southern Steel (43) defeated by Central Pulse (44)

A nail biting finish and a buzzer beater by the Pulse see them slowly but surely climb up the ladder, challenging the Mystics for top position. Player of the match Kate Burley kept both of her shooters to just six goals in the first and second second term each and kept the Pulse to single digit quarters in the first half. Samantha Winders was influential in attack taking 14 centre pass receives in wing defence, while direct opponent Whitney Souness took 22 herself. The Pulse’s third quarter saw them peg back the lead and level the score heading into the fourth quarter.

Mainland Tactix (50) defeated by Northern Mystics (74)

A blowout and much needed win for the Mystics stamp their authority in the competition over finals dreamers the Tactix. A monster game for player of the match Elisapeta Toeava saw her get an incredible 53 feeds, exactly half of the Mystics total feeds for the 60 minutes. It was no easy win though with defensive machine Karin Burger (eight gains, six intercepts and six penalties) winning plenty of ball back for her side, but it was the inability to convert it down the other end that hurt the Tactix, especially in a 12 – 21 fourth quarter drought.

Northern Stars (61) defeat Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (55)

Consistency was key for the Stars, having won the first three quarters convincingly over the Magic who pegged the lead back by four in the fourth term. Again, Stars midcourt duo in Gina Crampton (45 feeds and 25 goal assists) and player of the match Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (42 feeds and 19 goal assists) did a mountain of work in attack, having done so in the last few rounds. It is hard to distinguish the two with both sharing the load in attack with their combination looking as slick as ever. Ameliaranne Ekenasio (25) looked great in the shooting circle, not afraid to put the goals up or dish off to fellow shooter Bailey Mes (30), and worked the ball around in the attacking third, waiting for Mes to pop out in the circle or be open for the pass into the backspace. The Stars are still contesting with the Tactix for that third position, and with only a few rounds of the season left every point is important.

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