LG MYSTICS END SEASON WITH A WIN
The LG Mystics ended their ANZ Championship netball campaign with a 58-47 win over a spirited challenge from the Mercury Energy Tactix in Christchurch tonight.
Recording their seventh win in their final outing of the season meant a sixth place finish for the LG Mystics, their best in the three years of the trans-Tasman competition. But it still fell short of expectations with the northerners failing to deliver on their talented line-up. Tonight’s outing matched the LG Mystic’s record as the most accurate team of the competition against the least accurate and that was reflected in the final score. It also mirrored the northerners’ inconsistence season against a young and inexperienced Tactix team, who had one of their better outings of the season.
Both teams presented with their strongest line-ups in a bid to end their seasons on a positive note, the LG Mystics opting for the experienced Jenny-May Coffin at wing attack. The game started in rollicking fashion, both teams seeming at ease with the lack of expectation, as the teams went goal for goal early on. However, the greater firepower in the LG Mystics ranks ensured they gradually worked their way into the lead.
Veterans Coffin and Temepara George proved the difference as the LG Mystics dominated the midcourt, building on the back of Tactix errors and the fine positional play and finishing of shooter Maria Tutaia. With the LG Mystics threatening to take off, the Tactix did well to keep in touch with a late surge as the visitors headed into the first break 17-13 ahead.
The Tactix showed they were far from done with a stirring second quarter which feature several momentum shifts. The home team competed gamely with some fine attacking play from Maree Bowden and Phillipa Finch which shooters Ellen Halpenny and Anna Thompson made the most of. As they have done most of the season, the LG Mystics drifted in and out of the game, unable to consolidate as the Tactix bridged the gap and then took the lead for the first time.
It was enough to spur the LG Mystics back into life as Grace Rasmussen replaced an injured Coffin, the northerners reclaiming the lead on the back of fluid attacking play. Played at a cracking pace, the game swung wildly between the messy and the clinical. There was plenty of razzle dazzle as the half closed with a mistake-ridden final few minutes, the LG Mystics greater shooting percentages helping them to a 27-24 lead at the main break.
The spirited challenge from the Tactix continued on the resumption as played opened up and the teams went goal-for-goal. A shoulder injury to Charlotte Kight took the sting out of the Tactic charge when the hard-working defender was replaced by Anna Galvan. The home team lost their rhythm as the LG Mystics made their move, also replacing defender Althea Byfield with teenager Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick making her debut.
The Tactix took time to settle as the LG Mystics strode away to a 44-36 lead at the last break, courtesy of the fine finishing from Tutaia and Cathrine Latu. It was an action-packed final stanza, the Tactix putting up a gutsy challenge before a four-goal unanswered streak from the talent-laden LG Mystics put the final seal on the result.