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Pulse take spoils in first Robyn Broughton legacy trophy battle

Pulse take spoils in first Robyn Broughton legacy trophy battle

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse will return from Invercargill with the new Robyn Broughton Legacy Trophy and sitting on the top rung of the ladder after a convincing 65-38 win over the Ascot Park Hotel Steel on Monday night.

The Pulse leapt over Trident Homes Tactix to claim the No.1 spot at the end of Round 12, but they weren’t always dominant in the match with bottom-placed Steel. There was little between the two sides in a low-scoring first quarter, when the Pulse fell into a Steel trap of trying to force the ball into their shooters.

Although it was dogged Pulse wing defence Fa’amu Ioane’s 100th national league match, it was her captain Kelly Jackson who stole the limelight. After a successful night hunting, she ended up with 15 gains including six intercepts.

At the start of the match, errors working the ball into their circle were ironed out quickly by the Steel, and Taneisha Fifita, coming back from an injury break, got her hands to lobbed ball destined for Pulse goal shoot Martina Salmon early in the quarter – helping the home side grab a two-goal lead.

But Kelly Jackson got into her groove, picking up two intercepts, three deflections and seven gains, to put the Pulse ahead ­ – albeit only by one, 11-10, at the first break.

Both sides continued to be guilty of poor connections on attack, and inaccurate shooting once they got near the hoop, allowing the defenders to have a field day.

The Pulse brought goal attack Tiana Metuarau into their shooting circle at the same time the Steel turned to Summer Temu at goal shoot.

The move initially benefitted the Pulse as they eased out to a double-figure advantage (where the Steel had only scored one goal in eight minutes).

Although Temu and Georgia Heffernan started to click in the Steel circle, well fed by the bullet-style passing of new signing Charlotte Lourey, the Pulse went into the halftime break 25-17 ahead.

While the combination of Claire Kersten and Whitney Souness controlled the Pulse attack, the duo of Parris Mason and Jackson were again dominant in defence. Mason left the court to have an ankle injury strapped after a mid-quarter trip, but was back causing havoc for the Steel shooters in a flash.

The Pulse grew in confidence as the Steel struggled and won the quarter 19-10.

Down 44-27, the Steel had moments of clarity in the final quarter, with Heffernan putting away some clean long shots to end with  20 from 34 (87 percent)

Salmon, who copped an accidental elbow to the nose, improved with accuracy as the game went on to finish with 53 from 62 (85 percent).