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Mystics put on first-half show vs Magic

Updated: May 23

After a commanding first-half performance, the Northern Mystics thrilled their Trusts Arena home crowd with a 54-44 win over the Waikato-BOP Magic to round out Round 6 of the ANZ Premiership.

Wearing dresses from the 2008 team in honour of Heritage Round, the Mystics’ 10-goal lead in the first quarter – followed by a streak of nine consecutive goals in the second - set up the defending champions for victory.

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With both sides coming off victories, it was promised to be a classic middle-of-the-table tussle for the third rung on the ANZ Premiership ladder.

But without their unwell leader, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, the Magic turned to young shooters Saviour Tui, Ivana Rowland and Kate Taylor to carry the load – it looked to be a big ask.

Tui, however, stepped up, particularly when at goal shoot in the second half, finishing the game with 31 from 36. And with her experienced defenders Erena Mikaere and Georgia Takarangi also coming into their own, stemming the Mystics’ earlier smooth flow, the Magic won the last two quarters by eight goals. 

At the opposite end – in the continued injury absence of Grace Nweke – goal attack Filda Vui was the stand-out shooter for the Mystics, potting  31 from 37, well supported by Hannah Glen.

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The Northern Mystics held off the Waikato-BOP Magic at Trusts Arena. PHOTO: NORTHERN MYSTICS

The Mystics established the upper hand early with strong defence from Carys Stythe and Phoenix Karaka, which was converted to goals by Vui and Glen.

A run of four goals gave the Mystics a 9-4 lead midway through the opening quarter.

Tui sunk some sweet long-range shots to keep the Magic scoreboard ticking over, but another series of handling errors on attack proved costly.

Toeava’s vision into the Mystics’ shooting circle was on-song, and she even pulled off an athletic intercept on defence. Another streak of five goals put the home side in a handsome position, 18-8, at the first break.

Soon down by 13, the experienced head of Ariana Cable-Dixon was introduced to centre for Magic as Tui, the Magic’s best shooter, headed to the bench for Rowland.

Vui, meanwhile, was doing the lion’s share for shooting for the Mystics at goal attack and a stunning string of nine further wore down the Magic.

With the divide at 20 goals, the Mystics took the opportunity to bring Katie Te Ao on at wing defence, and Catherine Hall at goal keep.

Mikaere, taking on the captaincy for the game, refused to be subdued, and pulled off a couple of good tips for the visitors before halftime, when Magic went to the changing rooms down 34-16.  For the second straight quarter, the Mystics held the Magic to only eight goals.

The Magic had a much stronger third spell ­– Mikaere and Takarangi were more dynamic, getting hand-to-ball and disrupting the Mystics shooters, and Claire O’Brien showing some smart vision into Tui and Rowland.

After a Magic run of five, Dani Binks came into the Mystics shooting line-up for Vui and stopped the Magic’s dash. Still the Magic won the quarter by five, down 49-29 going into the final stanza.

The Magic continued to interrupt the easy flow the Mystics enjoyed in the first half, but the home side still had enough of a buffer to score a telling win.

Northern Mystics 54 (Filda Vui 31/37, Hannah Glen 22/28, Dani Binks 1/1) Waikato-BOP Magic 44 (Saviour Tui 31/36, Ivana Rowland 9/11, Kate Taylor 4/6). 1Q: 18-8, HT: 34-16, 3Q: 42-29


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