Netball: Mystics fall to Vixens but are still in hunt

Temepara George of the Mystics and Chelsey Tregear of the Vixens compete for the ball during the Major Semi Final ANZ Championship match. Photo / Scott Barbour.
Temepara George of the Mystics and Chelsey Tregear of the Vixens compete for the ball during the Major Semi Final ANZ Championship match. Photo / Scott Barbour.

The Northern Mystics have failed in their bid to qualify directly to the final of the ANZ Championship when losing 56-50 to the Vixens in the major semifinal in Melbourne today.

The loss was a blow to the Mystics, who failed to repeat their round-robin success against the Vixens in Melbourne, the first time they revealed the "Harrison Hoist'' defensive strategy.

They still have a chance to qualify for a rematch, however, as they play the winner of tomorrow night's game at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton, between the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

The Auckland side began well thanks to the accurate shooting of Cathrine Latu and Maria Tutaia. They led 15-11 after the first quarter and increased it slightly to head into halftime 29-24 up but the expected fightback from the home side came in the third quarter, the Vixens drawing level 40-40 and setting the match up for a grandstand finish at the Rod Laver Arena.

The fourth quarter was a procession, though, the Vixens quickly going out to a three-goal lead and the Magic failing to recover. Turnovers were costly for the visitors, who were well served by Latu and Tutaia. They shot 30/32 and 20/23 respectively.

Their opposites, Karyn Howarth and Tegan Caldwell, were successful with 33/40 and 23/26 respectively.

The Vixens, who finished the regular season on top of the table, will be hard to beat at home in the grand final. Madison Browne, the Vixens centre, said: "To have the home crowd screaming for you... but we just have so much belief in each other we've just got to play our own game - but with them behind us we can do anything.''

- APNZ

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