Pulse’s last quarter return overcomes Stars

A FIGHTBACK finish from Central Pulse saw them take home a 64-62 win at home over a Northern Stars outfit who led for the majority of the match.

An attacking game through and through saw both sides fight for a spot in the top three, reaching the pointy end of the season. All midcourters used their smarts when under pressure, willing to take the ball back to the transverse line and wait for the shooters to open up.

The Stars were looking for a comfortable win as they had lost to the Pulse previously by 14 goals and won by two goals against the Steel in the last round. It was goal for goal in the first seven minutes until the Stars got away with a three-goal run off the hand of a footwork call from Amelia Walmsley under the post.

Player of the Match Walmsley shot the lights out finishing with 53 goals while winning four of her rebounds which were all under immense pressure. Tiana Metuarau (11 goals) stepped it up in the final term slotting five goals, an improvement from her three in the first half.

Walmsley did not have it easy though as the introduction of Kelera Nawai-Caucau (three intercepts, four deflections) in the second quarter kept Walmsley constantly thinking and changing her body positioning. Nawai-Caucau had a huge impact on court as Walmsley was starting to fake her shots and miss under the post.

Pulse coach Yvette McCausland Durie asked centre Maddy Gordon at quarter time to use her fakes to draw Nawai-Caucau out of the circle and open up Walmsley under the post. This worked until Gordon (21 feeds, 12 goal assists and two gains) went off court in the second term with a knee niggle, but returned to court early in the third.

The Pulse’s grit in attack was clean and clinical as they scored off all 11 of their turnovers won for the game.

Stars shooters Maia Wilson (42) and Amorangi Malesala (20) were shooting from everywhere, keeping the Pulse defenders quiet to their standard. The Stars ability to work the ball around the circle was outstanding as Malesala was able to sweep the top and run the baseline while Wilson held strong out the front, knowing that the arms of Kelly Jury would stop her hold from behind.

It was also the work rate of Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan who shared 45 and 40 feeds and used their smarts to give out bounce passes into the shooters. Wilson was well and truly winning that battle until a much needed intercept from Jury solidified the win for the Pulse.

The reigning premiers continue to be finals contenders with their fourth win in a row over desperate Stars by two goals.

Southern Steel (31) defeated by Mainland Tactix (50)

A very ugly win for the Tactix saw them slowly creep up the ladder, still in contention for that second position. Both sides coughed up a lot of ball with both teams combining for 64 turnovers. Player of the Match Jane Watson startled the Steel shooters with constant changes being made in the second half. Down the other end of the court, shooting machine Aliyah Dunn kept up the accuracy ending the game with 97 percent. The discipline from the Tactix in each quarter was enough to stampede over the Steel who are still searching for that first win of the season.

Northern Mystics (60) defeat Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (49)

A dominant display by the Mystics shook the Magic who are still vying for a possible top three position. Even shooting from Bailey Mes (24) and Ameliaranne Ekenasio (25) turned the defenders heads as it was unpredictable of who was the target in the shooting circle. But player of the match Phoenix Karaka (six gains, two intercepts and two rebounds) was able to win enough ball back for her side to sit more comfortably at the top of the ladder.

Northern Mystics (77) defeated by Northern Stars (79)

A clinical double extra time performance by the Stars saw them equal the playing field for the Northern Challenge. Stars attacking duo Gina Crampton (55 feeds and 30 goal assists) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (52 feeds and 30 goal assists) had another standout performance, getting the ball to the circle edge and being able to feed both shooters in Maia Wilson (50) and Player of the Match Amorangi Malesala (27). Mystics shooter Grace Nweke stepped up in accuracy since yesterday finishing with 93 per cent, slotting 70 goals.

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