MYSTICS EQUAL BIGGEST EVER WINNING MARGIN
The MG Mystics have triumphed over their cross-town rivals with a ferocious 68-44 win against the Robinhood Stars, equalling their biggest ever winning margin.
The Helene Wilson-coached side put their loss to the Steel in Round 6 in Invercargill behind them by rebounding in style with the 24-goal victory in Auckland on Sunday.
Simply superb was Grace Nweke as she scored 59 from her 66 attempts. The 1.93m superstar was unstoppable as her team-mates worked effectively in all areas of the court to deliver quality ball to her.
The first meeting between the Mystics and Stars in the 2022 season was always going to be highly anticipated with Silver Ferns match-ups aplenty.
The defending champion Mystics settled first into the encounter with Peta Toeava putting in some trademark pinpoint feeds to the high-jumping Nweke, hinting there was even more to come.
Showcasing their depth across the court, the Mystics built a seven-goal first quarter lead as all areas of the court were running smoothly. Maintaining their momentum in the second quarter, the Mystics scoring machine surged further, extending their lead to 14 goals by halftime.
Mystics goal attack Monica Falkner returned to the side playing with confidence and intensity. Tayla Earle at centre was another vital cog in the attack, while circle defenders Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick were forcing errors in their opponents play.
Stars coach Kiri Wills went to her bench bringing in Amorangi Malesala at goal attack, replacing Jamie Hume in the second quarter, and bringing on Lisa Mather at centre following halftime.
Anna Harrison and Elle Temu hunted the ball with determination. Despite their hard-working efforts, the Stars shooters and midcourters were less cohesive than in their previous three wins this season.
Silver Ferns shooter Maia Wilson struggled with accuracy and was substituted as the third quarter came to a close. Hume resumed at goal attack with Malesala moving back to goal shoot.
The teams were contesting the first game of three in the Barfoot & Thompson Northern Challenge Trophy.