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Pulse continue momentum with big win over Steel

Pulse shooter Tiana Metuarau celebrated her 100th national league match in winning style against the Southern Steel. Photo: PhotoWellington

New centurion Tiana Metuarau led her Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse side in their continued march up the leader-board with a 62-38 victory over the Southern Steel in Wellington on Monday..

Metuarau, at 22, became the youngest player to notch up 100 games in the national league, and gave a polished performance in a game that saw the Pulse move up to second equal with the Tactix at the end of round seven. 

And with her young shooting partner Amelia Walmsley in stellar form – scoring 52 of her 58 attempts at 90 percent - the Pulse attack was relentless in a physical encounter.

``The Steel had a really good game the other day (two-goal loss to Stars), so we were really wary, the first part being the double-header and secondly, they had nothing to lose,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.

``It was definitely really physical and there were lots of different challenges out there and that was one of the pieces I was most proud of. Players played on and just kept continuing to do what they had to do and find a way, so yeah, great to get two wins out of the double-header.

``We’ve still got hard work ahead of us, we’ve got six to go and we need to compete in all of them to get a chance to make the play-offs, so it’s re-focus, refresh and go again.’’

The Steel were especially determined on defence, and had moments of exciting play, but were still outgunned in every quarter and frustratingly remain winless this season.

Continuing their dominance from Saturday’s upset of league leaders the Mystics, the Pulse made their intentions clear from the get-go, quickly interrupting the Steel’s flow through court and rushing out to a four-goal lead.

The Steel’s attackers were hesitant to feed their shooters, with the Pulse defenders Kelly Jury and Kristiana Manu’a ruling the circle. Yet when they got the ball through to goal shoot Saviour Tui, she was faultless with her attempts.

Steel wing defence Sam Winders and goal keep Kate Burley were dogged – Burley often getting a hand to tip the ball away from the Pulse shooters. But with the Pulse midcourt growing in confidence with every game, Maddy Gordon and Whitney Souness were quick and clinical working the ball into the circle.

Down 14-9 at the end of the first quarter, the Steel returned to the court with a fresh approach.

Although Tui hadn’t missed a shot in that opening spell, she was replaced by Jess Allen, who’s turn-and-shoot style got the Steel within three.

But with Jury in excellent form – claiming four intercepts - the Pulse quickly took control again. The Steel could only score off half of their centre passes, and found themselves trailing 27-17 at halftime, and 45-28 after three quarters.

For a second time in two games, Gordon was named player of the match – with three intercepts and four gains. But she had to be helped off the court with a calf cramp, to the crowd’s applause for her unstinting efforts.

Shooting stats

Amelia Walmsley 52/58 (90%)
Tiana Metuarau 10/13 (77%)

Georgia Heffernan 18/23 (78%)
Jess Allan 9/10 (90%)
Saviour Tui 11/13 (85%)

MVP: Maddy Gordon (Pulse)