Round 9 Match Report | Pulse v Magic
Another netballing lesson has been dished out by Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse as their grip on the ANZ Premiership tightens.
The league leaders beat Splice Construction Magic 54-33 in Wellington ensuring their unblemished record remains intact after 10 games.
They made their defensive presence felt from the first centre pass while they were clinical on attack with their connections upfront unbreakable.
Magic shooter Kelsey McPhee has impressed in recent weeks but her contribution to this game was limited as the Pulse defence, both inside and outside of the circle, kept her well under wraps.
A six-goal streak midway through the first quarter set the tone of the match with the Pulse showing lightning speed on their transition onto attack and a strong hunger for ball on defence.
The damage was being done through the midcourt with both Karin Burger and Claire Kersten getting plenty of hand to ball and their team-mates driving on strongly to mop up anything loose.
Penetrating the Pulse defensive wall proved tough for the Magic attack as they struggled to find McPhee in the shooting circle.
The hosts led 13-9 at quarter time but their dominance was only just starting to ramp up to the delight of the full house.
Ameliaranne Ekenasio showed no effects from the ankle injury which forced her from the court last week, driving strongly into the circle and picking up ball on defence, although her radar fell away during the game.
Her combination however with Aliyah Dunn, who was again a stand-out, proved the difference as the duo got the better of the Magic defence.
Whitney Souness delivered another strong performance with her speed, nimble footwork and service to her shooters.
Trailing by 11 goals, the Magic made their first personnel change with Abigail Latu-Meafou coming on at goal attack and Monica Falkner going to goal shoot.
It made it no easier to thread the ball through the Pulse wall as the hosts went into the main break with a commanding 28-15 advantage.
The goals kept coming in the second half allowing Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie to go to her bench with Ekenasio making way for Tiana Metuarau midway through the third quarter.
Metuarau, who had come on strongly for Ekenasio last week, found herself earning the attention of the umpires immediately as she took time to settle into her work.
The injury break also allowed the Magic to make a change with Jenna O’Sullivan injected in a bid to shut down Souness’ impact.
The Magic rallied but were still limited to just nine goals in the quarter and went into the fourth stanza down 24-41.
Magic coach Amigene Metcalfe went to her bench again at the break with O’Sullivan joining Kopua in the defensive circle and Lisa Mather returning to the game on the wing.
With the Pulse firmly in control, both coaches made personnel changes with Elle Temu coming on for Pulse defender Sulu Fitzpatrick while 16-year-old Khiarna Williams made her ANZ Premiership debut for the Magic.
It wasn’t long before Ekenasio returned to the game in place of Metuarau while Maddy Gordon was also introduced to the Pulse forward line in place of Souness.
Consistency has been the catch-cry from the Pulse this season and despite the raft of positional swaps, they kept the scoreline ticking over in the final quarter while restricting the Magic to single figures in each spell.
Official Result and Stats:
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse: 54
Splice Construction Magic: 33
Shooting Stats -
Aliyah Dunn 30/32 (94%)
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 22/33 (69%)
Tiana Metuarau 2/3 (66%)
Shooting Stats - Magic:
Monica Falkner 18/24 (75%)
Kelsey McPhee 8/11 (73%)
Abigail Latu-Meafou 4/7 (57%)
Kharnia Williams 3/3 (100%)