Relentless Pulse hold off Tactix
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse have withstood a feisty battle from The Good Oil Tactix, putting on the afterburners in the final quarter to triumph 52-40 in Palmerston North.
In an entertaining encounter, both sides surged and waned during the 60 minutes, with the final score-line failing to reflect the intensity on court.
Nevertheless, it was the Pulse who always had the upper-hand, and now remain unbeaten after three games in the ANZ Premiership.
The beleaguered Tactix, cursed with injuries so early in their season, never looked like they would simply roll over, and took away some food for thought from a determined effort.
The Pulse were dealing with their own injury woes, with shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio on the bench unable to take the court while being treated for concussion.
Her replacement, teenager Tiana Metuarau, had little trouble filling her shoes – immediately fitting back in with her old shooting partner Aliyah Dunn. Dunn’s 41 from 45 (91 percent) – superbly supported by Metuarau - was a highlight of the game.
In the first five minutes, the Pulse scored five in a row, but the Tactix weren’t prepared to surrender early, managing to close the gap to one.
Kimiora Poi’s quick hands and sharp eye, both on attack and defence, set up the Tactix shooters, and Ellie Bird held strong under the Tactix goalpost.
But another five goals in succession just before the first break gave the Pulse a handy advantage, 16-10.
Shooting was almost perfect from all four shooters in the first spell, but the difference was the volume of ball being placed in their hands – which would be a telling factor of the match.
To start the second quarter, the Tactix brought on the experienced Samon Nathan – the new replacement for the injured Erikana Pedersen - at wing attack, and she took little time to settle and feed Bird precisely.
But the Pulse upped the tempo and the Tactix began to struggle under the pressure. Rallied by Jane Watson, the Tactix made a recovery of sorts in the dying stages of the half, to be 28-21 down at halftime.
Karin Burger threw herself into everything at wing defence for the Pulse, collecting four clean intercepts, and successfully disrupting the Tactix midcourt. Captain Katrina Rore was doing the same in the Tactix shooting circle, with two intercepts and seven deflections, earning her MVP.
But the Tactix weren’t lying down. The relationship between Poi and Bird remained strong, and Bird stayed errorless with her shots (until three misses in the final quarter).
But the Pulse continued to have the edge, and led 41-30 going into the final spell.
In spite of a quick flurry of goals from the Tactix, that dragged them back to within eight, the Pulse found another gear and pulled away to a 15-goal lead with five minutes remaining – guaranteeing them a third win from three matches.