MATCH REPORT – SKYCITY MYSTICS v WBOP MAGIC
The SKYCITY Mystics have leapfrogged into second place on the ANZ Premiership ladder after an incredible 59-58 victory over the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic at The Trusts Arena last night.
The home side had beaten the Magic in every occasion prior to last night’s game, and this game was the most-important of them all. Both sides certainly played like they were in must-win territory. It could have gone either way throughout the match, with only one or two points separating the sides at the end of each quarter, and scores levelled at 29-29 at half time.
The Magic got themselves out to an early four goal lead in the opening quarter, with Kelly Jury and Casey Kopua creating lots of defensive pressure on Bailey Mes and Maria Tutaia. All four SKYCITY Mystics attackers were doing a heap of work outside of the shooting circle, with Mes punching out of the circle and Tutaia continuing her huge work rate in the shooting third. The Magic led by one-goal at quarter time and it took the SKYCITY Mystics until halfway through the second quarter to hit the lead.
The lead changed a number of times in the second spell. Tutaia’s shooting was on fire from long range, while Magic shooters Lenize Potgieter and Monica Falkner were also on song. There was certainly no love lost between Elisapeta Toeava and Sam Sinclair, with the two wings going at it all night. The first half ended in exciting circumstances, with the SKYCITY Mystics biffing the ball from one end of the court to the other in four seconds to Mes who missed a tough shot. However, Jury was called for contact and Mes made no mistake the second-time round, levelling the score at 29-29 at the break.
Helene Wilson and Jenny-May Clarkson made the all-important change again at half time, shifting Anna Harrison to wing defence, allowing Storm Purvis to enter the game at goal keep alongside Michaela Sokolich-Beatson at goal defence. It took a while for the defensive unit to find their rhythm in the third spell. The Magic went out to a six-goal lead at one stage in the third quarter. But when the SKYCITY Mystics defenders did find their rhythm it was deadly. Sokolich-Beatson had a blinder, she pulled in three clutch intercepts, a couple of those from the Magic centre pass and she bagged four deflections. Samon Nathan showed off her brilliant vision into Mes, with some lovely feeds. The SKYCITY Mystics fought back and led 44-43 at three quarter time.
The SKYCITY Mystics bench started a defence chant from the sideline, with the crowd joining in. This inspired a number of huge plays from Sokolich-Beatson again, Purvis, Harrison and Toeava. All four picked up critical intercepts or deflections in the final quarter. Tutaia was unstoppable in the final quarter, shooting 6 from 6, all from long range and under huge pressure from Kopua. Equally, Mes was strong under the post slotting 9 from 10 in the final spell.
It was a tense final minute, with the Magic fighting back to be within one, but the SKYCITY Mystics held their nerve to take the win 59-58 and go a step closer to securing a playoff spot.
Full time score: 59-58 SKYCITY Mystics
SKYCITY Mystics shooting stats: Bailey Mes 25/30 (83%), 34/42 (81%).
MVP: Maria Tutaia
Visit HERE for all ANZ Premiership stats from the match.
Our next home game is against the Silvermoon Tactix at The Trusts Arena on Sunday 18 June ay 2pm. Make sure you get your tickets HERE.