Mystics hit top form to sweep past Tactix
The SKYCITY Mystics returned to winning ways in style with an emphatic and free-flowing 71-47 spectacle against the Silvermoon Tactix in Auckland on Wednesday.
After two quiet games, Silver Ferns shooters Maria Tutaia and Bailey Mes led the way as the hosts rebounded from back-to-back losses with a strong response while giving a view to the quality in their ranks.
In-form defender Anna Harrison wasn’t far behind, the lanky veteran excelling with five intercepts and nine deflections.
The Tactix were full of energy and purpose during a tight opening spell. Defenders Zoe Walker (in her 50th combined national league match) and Temalisi Fakahokotau were effective in slowing the Mystics attack line, the home team mixing the erratic with the precise as the teams went toe-to-toe.
At the other end, shooters Brooke Leaver and Anna Thompson produced strong movement and pin-point finishing to keep the visitors close.
Four unanswered goals helped the Mystics nose 14-13 in front at the first break.
The second quarter couldn’t have offered more of a contrast, the home team flexing their muscle to considerable effect as they went on the rampage.
Tutaia was a prominent figure with her availability in general play and accurate shooting. The midcourt pairing of Samon Nathan and Elisapeta Toeava promoted pace and intensity as a stream of ball found its way into the home team’s circle.
Mystics defenders Harrison and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson did a fine job in restricting their opposite’s impact on attack, the visitors relying on crumbs as their game fell away.
Playing with freedom and space, there was no denying the Mystics, a run of eight straight goals pushing them out to a 35-18 half-time lead while limiting the Tactix to just five.
It was more of the same during the third quarter, the Mystics shooters receiving the ball on platter courtesy of majestic feeding.
Repeat doses of four-goal runs enabled the home to dictate terms unhindered as they faced little opposing pressure. It was the opposite for the Tactix who were under immense pressure throughout as their turnover count mounted.
The Tactix mixed and matched their line-up to no avail, goal defence Walker the only one retaining her original position, including the introduction of Beko Netball League shooter Ellie Bird. There were no such problems for the Mystics who had the luxury of injecting centre Mererangi Paul for her debut at this level as the home team bolted out to a handsome 55-30 lead at the last break.