Pulse storm to emphatic win over Mystics
A ruthless Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse set the tone for their season after closing out the opening round of Super Sunday with a storming 62-39 win over the Northern Mystics in Hamilton on Sunday.
The Mystics were left stunned by a completely dominant team effort from the Pulse, each player doing their bit to deliver an impressive start to the season.
Showing the benefits of having a settled line-up, last year’s runners-up showed their intent from the outset, the Pulse clicking into top gear from the opening pass to turn on an opening quarter masterclass.
The Pulse dominated across all areas of the court, gaining ascendancy through the midcourt with the slick transition and movement provided by Claire Kersten and Whitney Souness. Shooters Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio received a steady stream of ball as the pair made a telling impact on the scoreboard.
At the other end, the Pulse defence line made life difficult for the new-look Mystics shooting end, the back three of Karin Burger, Katrina Rore and Sulu Fitzpatrick restricting their opponents scoring options with a forceful presence.
The Pulse onslaught was relentless, their urgency, speed and precision forging a telling 19-8 lead at the first break.
Getting away to a good start on the resumption, there was an air of optimism for the Mystics but it was short-lived. Despite the best efforts of defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, who tirelessly threw herself into everything, normal service was quickly resumed as the Pulse continued to apply the blow torch.
Good moments were few and far between for the Mystics as the Pulse maintained their intensity levels when skipping into halftime well in control when leading 37-19.
With a reshuffled line-up, the Mystics proved more competitive during the third term but they still struggled with a lack of understanding between their budding connections and combinations. The Pulse’s defensive trio continued to pick up a bounty of turnover ball as the team in yellow and black showed no signs of easing off.
Ekenasio was given a spell late in the third stanza, the Pulse dipping into their exceptional well of talent when the teenaged Tiana Metuarau was injected into the contest. The Pulse hit the half-century mark on the stroke of three-quarter time when taking a 50-26 lead into the run home.
The Mystics produced a spirited closing quarter but the damage had been done, rising young midcourt and defensive talent Maddy Gordon and Elle Temu enjoying their first taste at this level for the Pulse in the dying minutes.