MYSTICS SUFFER FIRST LOSS TO MAGIC IN NAIL-BITING EXTRA TIME DUEL
Sunday 19 March, 2023
GLOBOX Arena, Hamilton
Full time AVIS Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic 57 – MG Northern Mystics 56
A frenetic battle has seen the AVIS Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic fight back to claim a one-point win in extra time over the MG Northern Mystics in round three.
In just the seventh time in ANZ Premiership history, the game was forced into extra time after the Magic slowly but surely clawed back what was a 10-goal lead to the Mystics at the close of the first quarter.
It was the second game on the road for the Mystics, but it looked to be in the bag as they shot out to an early head start and seemed to have control over the Magic right through the first half.
Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle again showed silky ball control through the court and into their shooters, with Filda Vui proving herself a hot shot at goal attack finding her target from long range and taking the pressure off goal shoot Grace Nweke.
Mystics defenders Sulu Fitzpatrick, Phoenix Karaka and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson shut down the middle channel, forcing the Magic to work the ball back and forth to the transverse line and coming up with some precious turnovers as a result of tightly connected defence.
In the second quarter the Magic found some more pace through court and gun shooter Amelieranne Ekenasio began to show her colours, creating space and sinking shots from all angles.
Down seven points going into half time, the Magic came out of the sheds with laser focus on the job at hand, tightening up on defence and putting immense pressure over the ball of the Mystics’ feeders which made it difficult to find their usual target in Grace Nweke.
Ekenasio kept her foot on the gas continuing a mammoth workload, opening up the Mystics’ defence and creating opportunities at critical points throughout the third quarter.
The Mystics responded in the fourth quarter, settling back into their signature smooth flowing netball and handling the increase in tempo from the Magic well.
Despite the ever-closing gap, the Mystics still seemed to have the upper hand with Vui back on at goal attack and maintaining an impressive 100% shooting percentage.
A last gasp effort from the Magic saw them capitalise on some uncharacteristic errors from the Mystics, forcing the game into extra time in front of a frenzied Magic home crowd.
For the next six minutes it was nail-biting netball as neither team was willing to loosen their grasp.
The two teams went goal for goal and in the end it was a tale of the clock with the Magic able to maintain possession and score just before the final whistle.
ANZ Player of the Match Amelieranne Ekenasio put the icing on the cake for her team, scoring the final goal to win 57 to 56 and serve the Mystics’ their first loss of the season.