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Pulse maintain momentum with sixth straight win

In her first full game of the season, shooter Tiana Metuarau helped the Pulse record a sixth straight win after they subdued the Tactix 48-33. Photo: PhotoWellington

March 31, 2019

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse retained their unbeaten streak after posting a comfortable 48-33 win over The Good Oil Tactix to open the second instalment of Super Sunday in Auckland today.

The Pulse had to work hard but recovered from a slow start to hold the upper hand for the remainder of the match, a sterling defensive effort keeping the Tactix to single digits through each of the first three quarters.

The result equalled the Pulse best start to a season when they also won their opening six matches last year and which afforded the luxury of giving all of their 10 players time on court today.

``We lost our way at times, the Tactix put us under a lot of pressure throughout the whole court and we had to work really hard to get the ball back but everyone had each other’s back today,’’ Pulse captain Katrina Rore said.

``It was quite difficult but it was great to get all our players on today. Everyone came on well, we’ve got a team of 10, it’s an outstanding team and we all just look out for each other. It was a really pleasing overall effort.’’

Getting the start at goal attack, Tiana Metuarau paired with the in-form Ameliaranne Ekenasio under the Pulse hoop while the Tactix retained their stable starting seven of recent weeks.

Using an effective midcourt defensive zone while finding an easy passage to goal, the Tactix made the best of starts to keep the Pulse scoreless for the opening 4 ½ minutes.

In the Tactix engine room, Kimiora Poi and Samon Nathan were a model of consistency for the Tactix on attack while staunch defence took the impetus out of the Pulse’s attacking flow.

Working into their work, the Pulse found their groove late in the quarter, hitting the lead for the first time in a low-scoring quarter before flexing their muscle to score seven unanswered goals which earned an 11-7 lead at the first break.

The Tactix introduced import Kate Beveridge at goal attack for Brooke Leaver on the resumption but it was all the Pulse in the opening exchanges.

The Tactix struggled to breach the Pulse’s defensive wall where Sulu Fitzpatrick, Rore and Karin Burger did plenty of disrupting while creating turnover opportunities.

Both defensive circles proved combative, the Tactix not getting enough ball into Beveridge and Ellie Bird while Meturaua and Ekenasio did a sound job of sharing the load as the Pulse hit the halftime break with a 22-15 lead.

Bearing in mind they have a short turnaround ahead of their next game on Wednesday, the Pulse injected fresh legs in the form of Aliyah Dunn at goal shoot for the second half while the Tactix also made changes at the shooting end with Beveridge and Leaver pairing up.

Having a brief flurry, the Tactix edged to within five before the Pulse moved up a gear to jump into a position of control.

Fitzpatrick, Rore and Burger were relentless, time and again shutting down the Tactix options on attack while at the other end, the Pulse were largely untroubled in getting the ball into the shooters’ hands.

Dunn was a picture of poise in converting all of her 12 attempts in helping propel the Pulse to a 37-22 lead at the last break and with all the momentum heading into the run home.

Shooting stats

Ameliaranne Ekenasio 21/36 (81%)
Tiana Metuarau 15/20 (75%)
Aliyah Dunn 12/12 (100%)

Ellie Bird 21/22 (95%)
Kate Beveridge 10/14 (71%)
Brooke Leaver 2/6 (33%)

MVP: Karin Burger (Pulse)