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MG Mystics Defeat Stars 56-51 In Auckland

13 May, 2024

In the first of the Northern Challenge clashes of 2024, the MG Mystics returned to the winners’ circle with a 56-51 victory over the Stars in Takanini.

In a game where the lead changed multiple times, and never lacked intensity, the Mystics pulled off their third win in five matches.

Stars defender Kate Burley’s six intercepts and three deflections were the individual highlight of the game, but not enough to inspire the Stars’ first victory of the season.

A tangle of legs in the Mystics circle saw Filda Vui leave the court injured with three minutes left on the clock, sending a scare through a Mystics camp already without key shooter Grace Nweke. Vui had played an excellent hand at goal attack, contributing 22 from 24, well supporting Hannah Glen’s 34 from 38.

The Mystics had the stronger start, emphasised by telling defence from Carys Stythe and Phoenix Karaka, and stormed out to a six-goal lead. Both Hannah Glen and Filda Vui began in confident form, neither missing a shot in the opening quarter, as their connection grows with every game.

The Stars shooters found themselves under more pressure, and their midcourters had to work harder to find the circle edge.

But with Mila Reuelu-Buchanan dictating play, they clawed back to two midway through the spell.

Down 17-13 at the first break, the Stars turned to a new defensive line-up, bringing Khanye-Lii Munro-Nonoa on at goal defence to work with Kate Burley slipping back to goal keep.

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The change had immediate impact for the home side, and with Burley going out hunting, and claiming a couple of crucial intercepts, the Stars suddenly stole a one-goal lead.

Whenever the Mystics threatened to fall back into their rhythm, the Stars poured more pressure on the Mystics attack – with the desired effect. While Stars wing defence Holly Fowler gave the Mystics’ wing attack Peta Toeava a run for her money, it was hard to deny the wing attack’s dominance feeding Glen and Vui with a variety of long, short and bounce passes.

With the Mystics taking a slight upper hand, Stars goal shoot Rahni Samason entered the game for Monica Falkner, and Wilson moved to goal attack. But the Mystics held onto a two-goal advantage at halftime, 29-27.

In the third quarter, the pendulum swung back the Stars’ way, with the experienced head of Burley taking control in the defensive circle, shored up by the rookie Munro-Nonoa. Holly Mather used clever vision to feed Wilson, who stood strong under the hoop back at goal shoot, and the home side went three goals up.

But yet again, the Stars weren’t able to take full control. Toeava, Glen and Vui regained their invisible threads, and the Mystics claimed back the lead, 41-39, going into the final spell.

The Stars – in particular Burley - never gave up and surged again twice during the quarter, but a final intercept by Catherine Hall at goal keep ensured the Mystics’ lead remained intact.

Official Result and Stats:

Stars: 51

MG Mystics: 56

Shooting Stats - Stars:

Maia Wilson 34/38 (89%)

Monica Falkner 17/22 (77%)

Rahni Samason 0/1 (0%)

Shooting Stats - Mystics:

Hannah Glen 31/34 (91%)

Filda Vui 22/24 (91%)

Dani Binks 1/1 (100%)

ANZ Fans' Player of the Match: Kate Burley

© Scoop Media

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