Mystics out-shine Stars in composed win

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The Northern Mystics posted their second win in a week and their third this season over cross-town rivals the Stars in Auckland on Sunday, controlling the second half for a 69-61 win

Northern Mystics midcourter Tayla Earle
Photo: Photosport

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The win – their fifth in a row – reinforces the Mystics’ position at the top of the table, opening out a five-point lead over the second-placed Stars.

Mystics midcourter Peta Toeava’s intelligent feeding and speed through court were key, as was her growing understanding with shooter Grace Nweke, who shot 54 from 65 under constant pressure from Stars circle defenders Anna Harrison and Elle Temu.

What she didn’t convert first-up, the 1.93m Nweke effortlessly mopped up with her ability to also dominate the rebound stakes.

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The game smarts of captain Sulu Fitzpatrick at goal defence, and her ability to generate and control turnover ball meant the Mystics rarely looked under pressure.

The Stars battled throughout, but remained in touch at 20-16 down after the first quarter and 36-33 at half-time, turnovers from Harrison and Gina Crampton keeping them within reach.

The Stars continued to press in the third quarter, drawing level at 44-44 midway through the spell with captain Maia Wilson (40 from 46) standing up strongly under the hoop.

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But the Mystics finished strongly, taking a 53-49 lead into the three-quarter break then pulling away to win the final spell 16-12 to secure their ninth win from 12 matches this season.

In Sunday’s late game, theTactix kept their finals series hopes alive with a 47-34 win over the Central Pulse in a bruising encounter in Nelson.

Tactix wing defence Karin Burger

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Tactix wing defence Karin Burger
Photo: Photosport

Playing their first competitive matches in two weeks after the change to the Covid-19 alert levels in Wellington caused the postponement of the June 27 clash between the pair, there was plenty on the line in this match.

The game was in the balance at half-time, with the Tactix leading 23-20.

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Big game players Jane Watson and Karin Burger stepped up for the home team on defence, the Tactix then controlling the bulk of possession to have 63 attempts at goal compared to the Pulse’s 39.

The Pulse missed their most experienced circle defender in Kelly Jury – forced out with a calf strain – and Tactix shooters Ellie Bird (31 from 40) and Te Paea Selby-Rickit (16 from 23) capitalised on their chance efficiently.

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