Pulse grab top spot ahead of minor premier battle

IT will all come down to the final game of the season to determine the automatic ANZ Premiership grand finalist after Central Pulse temporarily grabbed top spot on the table. The Pulse took care of the fifth placed Mainland Tactix by eight goals at Christchurch last night to set up a winner-takes-all final round battle with second placed Northern Mystics. Leading at each of the first three breaks, the Pulse only really shook off a determined Tactix outfit in the last quarter to grab the 51-43 victory.

MAINLAND TACTIX 12 | 12 | 12 | 7 (43)
CENTRAL PULSE 14 | 13 | 10 | 14 (51)

Central Pulse went into the game knowing they could potentially grab top spot with a victory against a Tactix side with nothing but pride on the line, and coming off a loss to the last placed Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. Starting strongly, the Pulse had the upper hand at quarter time, leading 14-12 after both Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau shot seven goals at 100 per cent. Erikana Pedersen (eight goal assists) and Whitney Souness (five) were strong in midcourt, while Kelly Jury pulled in two intercepts to contain both Ellie Bird (six goals) and her replacement Hannah Glen (two).

Both teams headed into the second term with the same seven out on court, as the Pulse started to misfire after their perfect first term. They did score eight of the first 12 goals, and got out to as much as as six-goal lead at one stage, before the pairing of Glen and Te Paea Selby-Rickit were able to cut it back to three (24-27) at the main break. Dunn shot nine goals from 11 attempts in the quarter, with Metuarau managing four from six, as well as five goal assists and two rebounds., Jury continued her great form with another intercept and rebound, while Glen at least got on the scoreboard more consistently, scoring seven goals from 10 attempts.

The Tactix came out with a renewed vigour in the second half, storming to a one-goal lead after 10 and a half minutes, with Glen missing her first shot, but then both her and Selby-Rickit going on a tear to hit the front at 33-32. The Pulse steadied but it never got more than two goals the difference, with Metuarau missing the chance to go two goals up at the final break in the dying seconds. Nonetheless the Pulse still lead by one goal, with Metuarau (six goals from seven attempts) and Dunn (four from six) both busy, Glen (six from seven) and Selby-Rickit (six from six) were lively, with the midcourt of Kimiora Poi and Charlotte Elley getting on top of Pedersen and Souness. Karin Burger was also working hard against the Pulse captain Metuarau.

Central Pulse shuffled Maddy Gordon into centre and brought on Courtney Elliott into wing defence three minutes into the final quarter after the Tactix started strong to hit the front. But soon enough the Pulse regained control, and though the Tactix were still right in it at the midpoint of the final term, the Pulse scored eight of the last 10 goals to run away with the eight-goal win, 51-43. Dunn scored nine goals at 100 per cent efficiency, as Metuarau managed five rom six and four goal assists. Gordon helped herself to three goal assists and one intercept, while Jury yet again picked up an intercept limiting Glen to four goals. Burger tried hard in her defensive post once again for the Tactix.

Jury picked up the Most Valuable Player (MVP) with four intercepts and three rebounds, containing Glen to 19 goals from 23 attempts after forcing Bird to the bench in the first term. Dunn (29 goals from 33 attempts) and Metuarau (22 from 26 and 11 goal assists) were both busy, with Souness (15 goal assists) and Pedersen (11) both lively. Selby-Rickit was the pick of the Tactix, racking up 16 goal assists and scoring 18 goals from 22 attempts, picking up three rebounds in the process. Poi (12 goal assists) and Burger (two intercepts) also worked throughout the four quarters in the loss.

Mainland Tactix are now done and dusted for the year, with the only chance of losing top spot is if the Magic win both their final two games, while for the Central Pulse, they face Northern Mystics for the right to an automatic grand final place.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments