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Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse Comeback To Defeat MG Mystics In Auckland

A storming second half completed a remarkable comeback for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse who kept their unbeaten record intact when posting a courageous 52-47 win over the MG Mystics in Auckland on Sunday.

Down by 11 goals at half-time, a 32-16 scoreline in their favour during the second half when holding the Mystics to just 10 and six goals through the third and fourth quarters turned the tables for the Pulse after the home side had dominated through the first half.

Second half heroics from defender Parris Mason, who was relentless in securing four intercepts and numerous deflections, and the influence of key play-maker Whitney Souness, in the thick of action throughout from wing attack, were instrumental figures in turning the tide.

Working with a make-shift attack line, the Pulse faced a first quarter mauling by the Mystics but showed their character and grit to bounce back with a determined reply. Knocked off their stride, the Mystics were left scoreless for large chunks of the final quarter but did enough to secure a losing bonus point.

With shooting ace Grace Nweke for the Mystics, and Pulse attackers Maddy Gordon and Tiana Metuarau ruled out of the clash through injury, both teams were missing key figures in their starting line-ups.

For the Mystics, Hannah Glen picked up the goal shoot bib to slot in alongside Filda Vui under the hoop while Carys Stythe took her place at goalkeeper.

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In a flashback to earlier years, former Pulse stalwart Claire Kersten was lured out of retirement to slot back into the familiar role of centre, for Gordon, while Kiana Pelasio retained her status or recent weeks as cover at goal attack for Metuarau.

After an even opening few minutes, the Mystics exploded into life, their short, sharp and quick exchanges through court leaving the Pulse back-pedalling. On the back of a slick attack line, Glen and Vui provided a seamless and strong shooter-to-shooter connection under the hoop.

The Pulse defenders had few answers to stemming the flow with Mystics playmaker Peta Toeava revelling in the conditions with her flair and pin-point passing. Almost unstoppable, the Mystics put the seal on a dominant opening quarter to rocket out to a 17-7 lead at the first break.

Khiarna Williams took over at goal shoot for the Pulse on the resumption with Amelia Walmsley moving out to goal attack as the visitors’ made the best of starts with a five-goal unanswered scoring spree.

That proved short-lived with the Mystics quick to negate any threats of a Pulse comeback, nailing home their dominance with another masterclass of attacking play.

The Pulse shuffled their defence line with Parris Mason moving back to goalkeeper, Kelea Iongi to goal defence and Pelasio to centre, the team holding their own through a much closer the second stanza.

Winning the quarter by one, ensured the Mystics retained a healthy 31-20 lead at the main break.

The Pulse reversed the trend with storming third quarter to get themselves right back into the contest. Shutting down the Mystics scoring options, Mason and Kelly Jackson got their hands on more defensive gains while the ever-present Souness was a tower of strength at the attack end.

Under more pressure, the Mystics lost their fluidity, becoming more hesitant on attack while also losing Toeava to an ankle injury late in the piece.

Walmsley, with a perfect scoring record up to the end of the third quarter, and Williams formed a strong combination in the Pulse shooting circle as the visitors out-scored the home side 17-10, leaving the Mystics with a reduced advantage of 41-37 at the last turn and some nerves heading into what proved a dramatic final quarter.

Official Result and Stats:

MG Mystics: 47

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse: 52

Shooting Stats - Mystics:

Hannah Glen 25/28 (89%)

Filda Vui 22/25 (88%)

Shooting Stats - Pulse:

Amelia Walmsley 29/31 (94%)

Khiarna Williams 22/29 (76%)

Kiana Pelasio 1/2 (50%)

ANZ Fans' Player of the Match: Peta Toeava

© Scoop Media

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