Mystics humble defending champs

Mystics shooter Grace Nweke soars high to secure possession. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

The Northern Mystics are keeping pace with the top of the table Stars in the ANZ Premiership.

The Mystics have blown away the Central Pulse 64-51 in Auckland to sit just a point behind their cross-town rivals two thirds of the way through the regular season.

It is the Pulse’s heaviest defeat of the season and leaves the defending champions fifth on the ladder, 11 points behind the Stars and four points outside the top three.

The Mystics won every quarter and led 30-21 at halftime.

Grace Nweke led the Mystics with 54 goals from 63 attempts, while Pulse shooter Aliyah Dunn was limited to 39 attempts, converting 31 of them.

It was goal for goal for the first 11 minutes of the game until the Mystics scored five in a row to break a 8-8 deadlock and take a 13-9 lead at the first break.

Nweke took command in the second quarter, landing 16 goals to help the Mystics take a 30-21 halftime lead, despite Silver Ferns goal attack Bailey Mes missing seven of her nine attempts.

Filda Vui replaced Mes at the start of the second-half and the Mystics attack continued to flow.

The hosts stretched their lead to 13 goals 10 minutes into the third quarter, when Pulse coach Gail Parata finally decided to ring the changes.

Parata brought on Abby Erwood at wing defence, moving Maddy Gordon to wing attack and Whitney Souness to goal attack with Te Amo Amaru-Tibble moving to the bench.

The changes had an impact with the Pulse cutting the deficit to 47-36 at three quarter time.

But the defending champions were unable to get within 10 points of the Mystics, who continued to control proceedings in the final quarter despite clearing their bench.

The Northern Mystics will now look forward to a top of the table meeting with the Stars at Pulman Arena next Sunday.

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