The SKYCITY Mystics pushed the Southern Steel in an ANZ Premiership thriller in Dunedin last night, falling agonisingly short of victory 68-67, but picking up an all-important bonus point for being within five goals.


That bonus point could prove crucial, as the SKYCITY Mystics battle it out with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Central Pulse for the final two playoff spots, after the Steel sealed a home final.


The game looked set to be going to extra-time as the clock ran out for viewers watching at home, however, the timer at the venue was different from what was shown on TV and the Steel’s Jhaniele Fowler-Reid stole the win right on the final buzzer.


The SKYCITY Mystics made a relatively slow start to the match, with the unbeaten home side capitalising on a few early mistakes. The Steel managed to jump out to a seven-goal lead at one stage in the opening quarter, but a quick burst from the SKYCITY Mystics at the end of the first spell meant they only trailed 20-16 at the break.


SKYCITY Mystics Head Coach Helene Wilson and assistant Jenny-May Clarkson made a change at the quarter break, shifting co-captain Anna Harrison out to wing defence, bringing Michaela Sokolich-Beatson into goal defence alongside keeper Storm Purvis. It was a move that worked, with the visitors fighting back from four-goals down to hit the lead with five minutes to go in the first half.


Harrison and Samon Nathan put plenty of pressure on Steel feeders Gina Crampton and Shannon Francois, while Sokolich-Beatson and Purvis worked well as a defensive unit on Fowler-Reid and Te-Paea Selby-Rickit. Bailey Mes and Jane Watson had a great ding-dong battle in the shooting circle in the opening two quarters, while Elisapeta Toeava continued to impress with her insane vision into Mes and co-captain Maria Tutaia. The Steel had a slim 37-35 lead at half time, with the SKYCITY Mystics winning the quarter 19-17.


The Steel looked rattled in the third and fourth quarter, with the SKYCITY Mystics putting plenty of pressure on the home side, forcing them to make uncharacteristic mistakes. Tutaia’s huge work rate outside of the shooting circle was impressive, as was her long-range shooting, while Mes continued to show off her incredible aerial skills under the post.


After a short break on the sideline late in the third quarter, Toeava returned to the court at wing attack for the final 15 minutes and injected plenty of speed and intensity. It was certainly nothing short of a cliff-hanger in the final quarter and the match looked certain to be headed for overtime. But credit to the Steel, who managed to biff the ball down to Fowler-Reid who clinched the one point win right at the death.


Full time score: 68-67


SKYCITY Mystics shooting stats: GS Bailey Mes 47/50 (94%), 20/27 (74%)


MVP: Elisapeta Toeava


Visit HERE for all ANZ Premiership stats from the match.


Super Sunday is our next home game! All 6 teams at The Trusts Arena this Sunday 11 June. The SKYCITY Mystics take on the Northern Stars at 4pm.


2pm: Magic vs Steel
4pm: Mystics vs Stars
6pm: Pulse vs Tactix


Click HERE for tickets to Super Sunday.


And don’t forget the SKYCITY Mystics have a super quick turnaround and they play the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic at The Trusts Arena on Monday 12 June (yes, the day after Super Sunday). Get your tickets for that match HERE.