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Pulse’s winning run comes to an end

Aliyah Dunn faced her biggest test to date but finished with a highly-credible 35 shots from 39 attempts against the Mystics

June 10, 2018

Two stunning late steals from captain Katrina Grant were not enough to save Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse from an agonising 52-51 loss to the Northern Mystics in the closing match of Super Sunday in Christchurch today.

A miracle goal on the stroke of fulltime earned the Mystics a dramatic one-goal win over the previously unbeaten Pulse.

Falling out of court, Bailey Mes provided the winner in a stunning turnaround for the Mystics who rebounded from a 22-goal loss to the same opponents just seven days ago.

It was a greatly improved effort from the Mystics who broke the Pulse’s six-game winning streak with a whole-hearted and committed team effort in a thrilling match-up.

Facing their most testing assignment to date, the Pulse clawed their way back to level the scores with under a minute to play but the Mystics, producing their best outing of the season, held their nerve to put their campaign back on track.

The Pulse retained their well-performed regular starting seven while the Mystics tinkered with their defensive line, a move which proved well-merited.

Having done their homework, the Mystics employed the long-limbed Anna Harrison at wing defence while Michaela Sokolich-Beatson and Phoenix Karaka filled the in-circle defensive positions.

Stung by last week’s result, there was plenty of well-thought intent and purpose from the energetic Mystics who took the challenge to the Pulse from the outset.

The Mystics got off to a flyer, an unsettled Pulse eventually finding their feet to nudge into the lead midway through the quarter on the back of four straight goals. But the Mystics hung tough and continued to exert pressure.

Harrison’s presence at wing defence paid dividends while Karaka was an inspiring figure at goalkeeper in providing a stern workout for high-flying Pulse shooter Aliyah Dunn.

The battle for possession was even during a tightly contested opening to leave the scores tied 15-all at the first break.

Kingpin shooter Maria Folau was injected on the resumption for the Mystics but it was three goals on the trot that nudged the Pulse into the lead.

Harrison and pocket rocket Pulse wing attack Whitney Souness provided one of many classic match-ups across the court.

Turning the screws defensively and finding their speed and fluency on attack, the Pulse forged a five-goal lead before the Mystics responded strongly.

The silky skills of Elisapeta Toeava got the Mystics attack line flowing as the challenge continued, the Pulse, however, keeping their opponents at bay when holding a 26-23 lead heading into the main break.

Dunn found her feet to keep the scoreboard ticking over, producing a fine all-round performance to finish the match with a game-high 35 from 39.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio was the only change across both teams when coming on at goal attack for the Pulse in the third quarter but it was the Mystics who turned the tables with a scorching 15 minutes of play.

Karaka and Harrison continued to apply the blowtorch defensively to effectively rattle the Pulse attack line. At the other end, Mes and Folau were clinical with their finishing under the hoop to give the Mystics a decisive 17-10 advantage during the third term.

That was enough to overhaul the lead and push the Mystics into a handy 40-36 lead at the last break.

Shooting stats

Pulse:
Aliyah Dunn: 35/39 90%
Tiana Metuarau: 10/11 91%
Ameliaranne Ekenasio: 6/10 60%

Mystics:
Maria Folau: 22/25 88%
Bailey Mes: 23/26 88%
Jamie Hume: 7/9 78%

MVP: Anna Harrison (Mystics)