Teenage shooting duo propel Pulse to classy win
May 7, 2018
In securing back-to-back wins to open their season, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse ended the 17-match winning streak of the Southern Steel with a comprehensive 62-51 outing in Palmerston North on Monday.
The Steel could find no answer for the Pulse’s young shooting duo of Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau, who showed an incredible understanding in their first season together, finding each other on attack effortlessly, time after time.
Eighteen-year-old Dunn, who has been working with Pulse shooting specialist Irene van Dyk over the summer, proved why she has earned two starts from two games in the ANZ Premiership, scoring 41 from 45. Metuarau, in support, missed just one of her 22 attempts.
The Pulse, the youngest team in this year’s league, built on a nervous 45-33 first-up win over the WBOP Magic the previous day, to dominate their Steel counterparts throughout the court. The Steel showed they are a team in rebuild mode, having lost stars over the summer and needing to re-establish connections with their Silver Fern players.
``We wanted to come into Super Sunday and this double header weekend and take two from two and that’s exactly what we’ve done, so we’re really happy with that,’’ Pulse captain Katrina Grant said.
``Our combinations are really starting to come together. It was a step-up from yesterday. Our shooters did an outstanding job in just turning and putting the ball through the hoop which will give massive confidence to them going forward.’’
Dunn, who moved to Wellington, from her home city of Invercargill this year, scored the first four goals of the game for the Pulse, while the Steel struggled to get on the scoreboard. The Steel defence eventually kicked into action and brought the 2017 champions into the game.
At the heart of the Pulse, Whitney Souness and Clare Kersten were on song both on attack and defence, and helped ensure the Pulse had a 16-12 lead at the first break.
They managed to hold the Steel at arm’s length through the second quarter, ahead 32-27 at halftime, through the consistent defence of Karin Burger and Sulu Fitzpatrick.
Steel goal shoot Jennifer O’Connell was shooting accurately and moving strongly, but wasn’t given enough ball under the hoop. She ended the match with 33 shots from 39.
Going into the final 15 minutes up 48-40, the Pulse brought another rookie in 17-year-old Renee Savai’inaea on to wing defence while continuing to grow in confidence. The Steel, on the other hand, were let down by uncharacteristic errors and a reluctance to put the ball into space.
Aliyah Dunn: 41/45 @ 91%
Tiana Metuarau: 21/22 @ 95%
Jennifer O'Connell: 33/39 @ 85%
Te Paea Selby-Rickit: 18/27 @ 67%
MVP: Aliyah Dunn (Pulse)