Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Netball: Mystics burn Pulse in fourth

Maria Tutaia of the Mystics (L) and Katrina Grant of the Pulse tussle for the ball. Photo / Getty Images.
Maria Tutaia of the Mystics (L) and Katrina Grant of the Pulse tussle for the ball. Photo / Getty Images.

Mystics 51
Pulse 47

Led by a perfect shooting performance from Cathrine Latu, the Northern Mystics overpowered the Central Pulse 51-47 in Palmerston North tonight.

Latu, who had made 97 per cent of her attempts on goal this year in the transtasman netball competition coming in to the contest, nailed 29 from 29 as the Mystics out-scored the Pulse 13-11 in the final stanza to claim victory and extend their winning run to 10 from 10 over the franchise.

In nine previous encounters, the Pulse had never managed to beat the Mystics despite having pushed the Northerners to over-time twice.

The Wellington-based side took the Mystics close in the opening round of this season but were also eventually beaten 51-47.

Having toppled the Canterbury Tactix 50-45 in Porirua on Monday night, the Pulse were looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time in ANZ Championship history.

The Mystics on the other hand, were keen to bounce back from their first loss of the season after the Adelaide Thunderbirds defeated them 50-48 in Auckland last week.

The Pulse have have had issues with their mid-court during the first four weeks of the competition and coach Robyn Broughton again shook up her combinations for tonight's game.

While Joline Henry has been a constant at wing defence, wing attack has been a problem position and Camilla Lees appears to be the best player in that spot but she is also the team's premier centre.

Lees, Katarina Cooper and Ngarama Milner-Olsen have all spent time in the WA bib during the past three games and it was Milner-Olsen who was given the start tonight.

Milner-Olsen, who is shorter and quicker than the other two candidates, was tightly marked by Mystics wing defence Jade Clarke as the two engaged in a closely-fought battle in the first half.

The Mystics had the better of the opening two quarters, but a couple of late Caitlin Thwaites goals brought the Pulse within two as the teams went to the break.

In the third quarter the Pulse found another gear as they forced turnovers from the visitors and held the lead during the middle stages of the quarter before the Mystics restored their parity to lead by two heading in to the fourth.

The final 15 minutes of play was dominated by the Mystics who used their experience and calm under pressure to record their fourth win of the season from five games.

The game featured two of the most penalised players in the transtasman league, with Mystics goal defence Kayla Cullen (65) and Pulse defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit (62) having had the whistle blown against them numerous times during the first four games of the season.

Cullen was substituted with about four minutes to go in the second quarter having accumulated nine penalties in her typically robust fashion and was replaced by former Tactix defender Charlotte Kight, although Cullen returned for the fourth and final stanza.

Pulse shooter Caitlin Thwaites came in to the game having connected on the fourth-most goals in the competition having drained 117 goals at 87 per cent and the Australian imported was again impressive as she scored 33 goals from 37 attempts.

Northern Mystics 51 Central Pulse 47 1Q: 14-10, HT: 27-25 3Q: 38-36

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