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Pulse storm home against Magic

Wing defence Fa'amu Ioane was a strong contributor, both defensively and on attack, for the Pulse. Photo: PhotoWellington

A clinical finish following a shaky first half has given Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse a comprehensive 56-44 win over the Magic in their second-round match of the ANZ Premiership at TSB Arena in Wellington on Saturday.
After edging out to a two-goal lead at half-time, the home team capitalised with ruthless efficiency on an impressive defensive effort over the final two quarters, the Pulse's fast-flowing through-court game out-pacing the Magic as they cruised to their second win in two games.

``Magic definitely brought the physicality out there and it was great that we were able to absorb the pressure and come out on top,’’ Pulse co-captain Kelly Jackson said afterwards.

Both teams had opted for the same starting line-ups which took the court in last week's opening round, the Pulse again running with training partner and Central Manawa goal attack Kiana Pelasio in the absence of Tiana Metuarau, still sidelined with a foot injury.
Both teams were plagued by a flurry of turnovers in the opening minutes, but it was the Magic who proved more efficient in converting as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Pulse had to work hard to by-pass some solid midcourt defensive pressure, but slowly eased their way back into the game with five goals on end.
The home team maintained that margin, but were forced to work hard midway through the opening stanza, when they had to survive two minutes with only six players after goal defence Parris Mason was sidelined for dangerous play.
It was the fifth suspension in just four games of the new ANZ Premiership season as players work hard to adjust to new rule interpretations aimed at improving player safety.
The Pulse's midcourt defence stepped up, Maddy Gordon and Whitney Souness combining with wing defence Fa'amu Ioane to stifle the Magic's pace on attack through to shooters Saviour Tui and Ameliaranne Ekenasio. The two shooters worked hard to balance the circle, with Tui nailing the last three goals of the quarter to give the visitors a narrow 12-11 lead.
Both teams lifted the defensive pressure in the second quarter, Magic circle defenders Erena Mikaere and Georgia Takarangi all efficiency in restricting the space Pulse shooters Amelia Walmsley and Khiarna Williams could find in the circle.
Jackson, the Pulse goalkeeper, was also in outstanding form at the other end of the court, pouncing on any remotely loose ball to pick up an impressive series of intercepts and deflections, while goal defence Kelea Iongi - on for the sidelined Mason in the first quarter - also stepped up to grab her share.
Walmsley - shifting out to goal attack - and Williams were efficient in their conversion rate, sinking 13 from 16 to give the Pulse a narrow 24-22 lead at the main break.
The Magic suffered another attack of the third-quarter jitters, as they did in last week's 64-52 opening loss to the Mystics. Ekenasio and Tui shot at 100 percent in sinking 11 from 11, but the Pulse midcourt defensive screen again stifled the Magic attack and shut down the supply of ball into the circle.
In contrast, Walmsley and Williams flourished on a feast of ball, sinking 18 from 22 to give the Pulse a healthy 42-33 lead at the three-quarter mark.
The final quarter provided more of the same, and although the Magic continued to battle, the Pulse controlled the final 15 minutes to take out the spell 14-11 and secure the win.

Shooting stats

Amelia Walmsley 38/47 (81%)
Kiana Pelasio 5/9 (56%)
Khiarna Williams 13/18 (72%)

Saviour Tui 23/30 (77%)
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 21/24 (88%)

ANZ Player of the Match: Georgia Takarangi (Magic)