NORTHERN DERBY SEES MYSTICS CLAIM TOP SPOT ON THE TABLE
Sunday 26 March, 2023
The Trusts Arena, Henderson
Full time MG Northern Mystics 62 – Robinhood Stars 59
The top of the table clash between the ANZ Premiership’s two northern teams the MG Northern Mystics and the Robinhood Stars proved every bit the hotly contested derby fans had expected with both teams coming out firing.
A valiant fight back from the Stars made for a close finish, but the Mystics managed to stave off a fiery Stars side seeing them move into top spot on the ANZ Premiership ladder with three wins from four.
Visitors the Stars looked to have the momentum early on, stretching out to a five-point lead and applying strong pressure in the Mystics’ shooting third.
With last week’s loss still fresh in their memory, the Mystics were quick to claw back the deficit and settle into their work getting some much-needed turnover ball on defence.
A beautiful cross court intercept from Phoenix Karaka and a tip from Sulu Fitzpatrick gave the Mystics an opportunity to snatch back the lead, however saw Fitzpatrick leave the court with a suspected left knee injury.
Rookie Carys Stythe made a seamless replacement at goal defence, pairing well with the experienced Karaka to shut down Stars goal shooter Maia Wilson.
The second quarter saw the Mystics double their lead, with Monica Falkner at goal attack showing off slick movement in and around the shooting circle and great skills in the air to snatch in lofty ball from her feeders.
Stifling defence from the Mystics kept the Stars feeders off the circle edge and made tough work for the shooters to get ball close to the hoop.
An incredible intercept from Peta Toeava took the Mystics into half time with a comfortable six-point lead.
The third quarter saw Elle Temu move into goal keep challenging Grace Nweke in the air, but the pin-point precision feeding from Tayla Earle and Pete Toeava managed to evade Temu’s long arms.
The Mystics looked hungry yet composed, adapting to three changes in the fourth quarter with Michaela Sokolich-Beatson moving into goal defence, Monica Falkner returning to goal attack and Katie Te Ao pulling on the wing defence bib.
Led by Elle Temu, the Stars notched up their physicality in the final minutes contesting every ball and making the Mystics work for their victory.
Some late mastery from Peta Toeava dazzled the home crowd with a flying intercept and later an incredible pass and cut in which she appeared to run on air before feeding a bullet pass into Grace Nweke right under the post.
The Mystics secured the win 62 – 59 in their first game back home in two weeks to see them climb to the top of the ladder.