Steel overcome slow start to remain unbeaten
The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel came back from unfamiliar territory to complete a convincing 66-46 Super Sunday win over the SKYCITY Mystics on their home court in Invercargill today.
For the first time this season, the Steel were on the back foot early but overcame a stuttering start to resume normal service with telling impact to keep their unbeaten record intact with a forceful outing.
The Mystics could not capitalise on an almost faultless start, jumping out to an early 8-1 lead before the Steel regathered and swung back into control mode.
Shooters Bailey Mes and Maria Tutaia got off to a flyer with strong assistance from wing attack Sasha Corbin, showing terrific unison under the Mystics hoop while defensively, the visitors did a great job of holding up the Steel’s attacking play.
Initially rattled, the Steel worked their way back into the contest, finding their timing on attack while at the defensive end, Jane Watson, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit, Wendy Frew and Shannon Francois applied the blowtorch.
In a remarkable turnaround, the home team hit the front for the first time three minutes ahead of the first break by which time they had forged a 16-12 lead.
Rejigging their defence line, with Storm Purvis coming off the bench and into goalkeeper, did little to enhance the Mystics fortunes.
Steel shooting machine Jhaniele Fowler-Reid showed her growing versatility in adding mobility while also taking opportunities from long range.
Masters at mixing up their style of play to suit the situation, the Steel entertained with their ability to score at a quick clip while reverting to a more deliberate and patient build-up when needed. Whatever style they employed, the goals continued to flow for the home team, the score threatening to blow out when the Steel hit the halftime break with a comfortable 32-21 lead.
Deceptive Steel defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit continued her strong influence on the game by snapping up two quick intercepts on the resumption as the home team increased their shooting volume. Replaced at three-quarter time, Selby-Rickit completed a fine game which included four intercepts and six deflections.
The Mystics reverted to their starting defensive line-up while the athletic Elisapeta Toeava was introduced at wing attack but too many unnecessary turnovers took its toll on the visitors, who struggled to make an impact.
That was not helped by a dip in shooting percentages from Tutaia, reflecting her team’s inability to maintain any form of consistency, the Steel in complete control when leading 51-32 at the last break.