Meandering Mystics pressured by Pulse before table toppers take control in final quarter for 56-51 win

Grace Nweke's shooting stats were her usual excellent numbers, but for much of the game, the Mystics couldn't feed her with their usual accuracy.


Grace Nweke’s shooting stats were her usual excellent numbers, but for much of the game, the Mystics couldn’t feed her with their usual accuracy.

At Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua: Mystics 56 (Grace Nweke 45/48, Monica Falkner 11/12) Pulse 51 (Amelia Walmsley 27/34, Tiana Metuarau 17/18, Joyce Rain 7/7) 1Q: 13-12, HT: 24-29, 3Q: 40-38.

Spare a thought for the Central Pulse.

The defending ANZ Premiership champions have suffered a third consecutive heartbreaking defeat, this time 56-51 to table-topping Mystics.

The Pulse, backing up from a 48-47 loss to the Magic 24 hours earlier and another one-point loss to the Tactix in round four, was knocked down by the Mystics in Porirua in the final quarter on Monday night.

Without Silver Ferns star Sulu Fitzpatrick due to a knee injury, the Mystics were out of their league for most of the game, but eventually hit top gear when it mattered most.

* Stars took a big win over Mainland Tactix in ANZ Premiership
* Karin Burger on Tactix Revival, Roger Federer as GOAT and How Mom’s Cooking Can’t Be Beaten
* Bailey Mes argues for Silver Ferns’ World Cup selection as Magic pip Pulse
* Sulu Fitzpatrick suffers a knee injury during Mystics’ victory over Stars in the premiership

The Mystics had a one-goal lead going into the first break, but in the first three quarters the Pulse put in arguably their best 45 minutes of the 2023 season, but came loose as the Mystics finally found their magic in the closing minutes.

Maddy Gordon’s deception was key to the Pulse’s success in the first half with several perfect feeds in target shooting Amelia Walmsley catching the Mystics defenders going in the opposite direction.

Carys Stythe was outstanding for the Northern Mystics on Monday night.

Andrew Cornaga /

Carys Stythe was outstanding for the Northern Mystics on Monday night.

Across the field, the Mystics seemed clumsy in the first half rather than the usual well-oiled machine that Grace Nweke finds easy.

Tiana Metuarau’s long shot right at halftime stretched the Pulse lead to 29-24 at halftime after a second quarter of 17-11.

Metuarau went into half time a perfect 14-14 as the Pulse scored seven of their last 10 goals in the second quarter, and she was a standout until the end in a defeated side.

After strong defensive work from keeper Carys Stythe and winger Elisapeta Tuava, the Mystics worked their way back into the game in a third quarter that went their way 14-11 to cut Pulse’s lead to two at the final break. , at 40-38.

Former Silver Ferns captain Katrina Rore received a massive reception from the Porirua crowd as she made a cameo for the Pulse in the fourth quarter but was unable to lift the home side to victory.

Best on the job

There is no shortage of candidates from both sides here. Gordon and Metuarau were outstanding on a defeated team, but it’s hard to get past what might have been a breakaway game for Stythe. Some crucial defensive touches and rebounds in the last quarter made all the difference for the Mystics.

The big moment

Amelia Walmsley was called upon to step, under tremendous pressure from Stythe, with four and a half minutes remaining and just as she was about to tie the score at 49-49, a vicious blow was made. Nweke then made it 50-48 and then, from the mid pass, 51-48 and the Mystics never looked back.

Match score: 8/10

When the underdogs take it to the table tops, it’s always an entertaining clash. Even though it was a little hard to see the Pulse loosen up in the last quarter after doing so much right, from a purely entertainment perspective this match didn’t disappoint.

The big picture

A second defeat in as many days for the Pulse means the defending champions will be desperate to upset the Stars on Saturday, which will mark the halfway point of the regular season. With Monday night’s loss, the Pulse now has a 2-4 record.

The only team in the comp with five wins, the Mystics are now clear at the top of the table and will have a golden opportunity to solidify that position when they travel to face Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Sunday’s early game.