Haier Pulse (54) defeated Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (44)
5 May 2014
Official Result & Statistics
Official Result: Haier Pulse (54) defeated Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (44)
Pulse Races To Repeat Magic Defeat
The Pulse have done it again – the only side so far this season to topple the Magic, this time in a dynamic 54-44 winning performance before a grateful home crowd in Porirua.
Their second win over the Magic this season boosts the Pulse’s chance of making the ANZ Championship top four, although it took them the best part of two quarters to assume control of the clash.
Even when the Magic’s legendary defensive line-up managed to smother Irene van Dyk, it was the hugely experienced Donna Wilkins who stepped up to the task of leading by strong example. Afterwards, Wilkins called it the Pulse’s best team effort of the season, but knows only too well her side will need to win their remaining four round robin games to have a real shot at the title play-offs.
Despite the loss, the Magic remain in second spot, on equal points with leaders the Vixens.
They had the upper-hand early in the clash, with their defence giving little room for the Pulse to move; Leana de Bruin successfully shutting out her old team-mate van Dyk. Seven minutes gone, and Magic were six goals up.
But goal attack Wilkins wasn’t going to be forced into a corner, and she defended, fed and shot in her best, uncompromising style. She was so determined, she even spilled blood from a couple of gouges in her face - and was forced to the side-line seconds before quarter time, when the Pulse had clawed back to be just two down, 15-13.
But Wilkins was back for the second stanza, and this time it was her opposite, the unrelenting Casey Kopua, who took a knock to the nose. The tussle continued to be reflected on the scoreboard – with Magic again making better space to drive through court at speed.
But things were about to change. Magic shooter Jo Harten was locked in fierce combat with Katrina Grant, with neither backing down. As the Pulse defence clicked up a gear, they stormed into the lead three minutes before the halftime break.
Suddenly the muted crowd in the Te Rauparaha Arena began to roar, and the Pulse headed to the dressing room 27-24 in the lead.
Both sides stuck to their tried and true line-ups for the start of the second half, with Pulse coach Robyn Broughton resisting the option of introducing new mum and international Liana Leota into the midcourt. But she was wise to stick with a string of seven who had found their rhythm, forced the Magic into unexpected errors, and quickly pushed the difference out to nine.
Elias Shadrock and Millie Lees began to find avenues in to van Dyk and the Pulse went into the final quarter up 42-34.
Both coaches rung in the changes for the last 15 minutes – Julie Fitzgerald giving young shooter Malia Paseka and evergreen defender Bessie Manu the chance to make a difference for the Magic, while Leota finally got her call-up at wing attack for the Pulse.
The intensity didn’t wane in the last spell, even though the Pulse weren’t surrendering their dominance. As she was in the last Pulse-Magic encounter, wing defence Joline Henry was the ever-reliable rock in the Pulse side, and kept up her tight man-to-man marking until the last whistle.
Pulse shooting statistics:
Paula Griffin 1/1 (100%)
Irene van Dyk 24/29 (83%)
Donna Wilkins 29/34 (85%)
Steel shooting statistics:
Ellen Halpenny 9/10 (90%)
Jo Harten 31/36 (86%)
Malia Paseka 4/7 (57%)
Match MVP: Joline Henry (Pulse)