Mystics overcome Steel

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 21:28 06/04/2014
Mystics Anna Harrison
PHOTOSPORT
EXPECTING: Silver Ferns and Mystics defender Anna Harrison is pregnant with her second child and is out for the remainder of the 2014 international season.

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The Northern Mystics have kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a dramatic 67-61 win over the Southern Steel in Invercargill tonight.

The Mystics had to come back from four goals down in the final quarter to hand the Steel their fourth loss of the season, with Cathrine Latu landing a perfect 47 goals from 47 attempts.

The Steel had lost Phillipa Finch to a calf injury during the warmup, with Gina Crampton making her starting debut for the franchise at centre.

During a frenetic opening quarter, both teams had their opportunities to edge out to an early advantage.

The ball-playing skills of Latu were on show for the Mystics, but it was the Steel who looked like they would grab an early lead in the dying moments of the quarter, only for the scores to be tied 19-all at the first break.

Rachel Rasmussen, who missed the win over the Thunderbirds with an anke injury, replaced Storm Purvis at the start of the second quarter.

A classy Laura Langman turnover helped the Mystics to break the deadlock early in the second quarter and the visitors then went on a mini-run which turned into a 28-22 lead before anyone really knew what had happened.

The Steel were able to limit the bleeding by halftime, cutting the deficit to four goals when Maria Tutaia's attempted buzzer-beater was ruled out by the umpires.

Mystics coach Debbie Fuller injected Temalisi Fakahokotau into the game after halftime to add some physicality to the vistors' defence, as well as presumably asking some questions of the commentators.

Crampton was spelled, with Wendy Frew shifting across to centre and Stacey Peeters getting a rare chance off the bench at wing defence.

The Steel were able to reel in the Mystics lead and turn it into a 49-48 lead by the end of the quarter, Tutaia's final shot of the quarter again called out just after it left her hand.

The Steel leapt out of the blocks for a 53-49 lead to start the final quarter before the Mystics scored five goals in a row to take a one-goal lead.

With less than four minutes to go the Mystics had snuck ahead 62-59 and they were good enough to keep the home team out in the closing stages.

Meanwhile, the West Coast Fever pulled off a surprise 53-51 win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds to consign the defending champions to a third straight loss.

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In the curtain-raiser at Stadium Southland, Southland Girls' High School beat South Otago High School 28-17 with Laura Moffatt from Girls' High named player of the game.

Quarter scores (Steel first): 19-19, 32-36, 49-48, 61-67.
Shooting stats:
Steel: Jhaniele Fowler-Reid 47/49, Jodi Brown 14/17.
Mystics: Cathrine Latu 47/47, Maria Tutaia 20/27.

- Fairfax Media

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