The Northern Mystics have inched closer to a top three spot in the ANZ Premiership, snaring a crucial win over the Magic in Hamilton tonight.

The Magic, along with the Steel and Pulse, have set the pace over the first half of the new domestic league, leaving the star-studded Mystics side playing catch-up.

But back-to-back wins over the past week has put the Auckland side back in touch of a finals spot, two points off the Pulse and Magic.

Despite the 59-55 loss, the Magic still managed to leapfrog the Pulse into second place courtesy of the bonus point, and their superior goal differential.


Marg Forsyth's side have been a model of consistency in the new domestic league, but the Mystics appear to have the wood over the Magic this season, being responsible for two of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty side's three losses.

Just as was the case in their round four meeting with the Magic, the Mystics had a healthy lead through the middle stages of the match, only to put themselves under pressure over the final quarter.

The Magic, who overcame a six-goal deficit against the Pulse in last weekend's Super Sunday match-up to charge home and sneak a 50-49 win, again threated to pull off a come-from-behind win with a determined fourth quarter effort.

But every time the Magic appeared to get on a run, Mystics super shooter Maria Tutaia stepped up and slotted a pressure-relieving long-shot. Tutaia had one of her strongest games of the season, netting 31 of her 36 attempts for an 86 per cent return.

The Silver Fern shooter was well-supported on the outside by athletic midcourter Elisapeta Toeava who impressed with her slick delivery of ball into the circle and ability to retrieve errant passes that seemed destined for the bleachers.

Given the tight battle for play-off positions that is likely to play out over the second half of the season, the Mystics will be disappointed to let the Magic sneak away with a bonus point for the match.

After taking a 28-24 lead into halftime, the visitors charged out of the blocks in the third period, holding a lead of 7-9 goals for most of the third period.

The Magic, led by a typically gutsy defensive effort from skipper Casey Kopua and nugget midcourter Sam Sinclair, managed to chip away at that lead over the fourth quarter, however, getting as close as three goals with four minutes remaining.