Pulse keep hopes alive
The Central Pulse have kept their slim playoff hopes alive and killed the Southern Steel's chances of making the top four with a 62-54 win in Invercargill tonight.
Despite trailing by two goals at the end of the first quarter, the Pulse showed plenty of patience against some tight Steel marking to eventually eke out a vital win.
The Steel, who have now lost five games from seven starts, are yet to win in three outings at the rebuilt ILT Stadium.
The Steel made a clinical start to the game, scoring off every centre pass in the first quarter to take a 16-14 lead at the first break.
It was almost the perfect quarter of netball, although if you were going to be finickety about it, they were only able to convert their third Pulse turnover, a beautifully judged deflection by Erena Mikaere.
Making her first starting appearance since the win over the West Coast Fever in Dunedin, Mikaere was causing early problems for the experienced shooting pair of Donna Wilkins and Irene van Dyk with her height and reach.
Again, the Steel appeared to have the better of the second quarter, but the Pulse were patient in the face of a wall of southern defenders.
A breaking call helped the Pulse get back onto level terms at 22-all, before another breaking call midway through the half helped the Steel regain the advantage.
It looked like it would stay that way before the Pulse provided a clinical finish to the half, scoring the final three goals to even the scores at 31-all.
The third quarter was another nervous game of to-and-fro, but it was the Steel who blinked first, a pass to Jhaniele Fowler-Reid sailing out of court and the Pulse pouncing to grab the lead for the firsttime in the game.
The Steel had their chances to bring it back in the final minutes, especially when a loose Camilla Lees pass came free, but it was again the Pulse who were able to finish out the quarter and take a three goal leading into the final 15 minutes.
Steel coach Janine Southby tried to mix up her defence for the final spell, introducing Storm Purvis at goal keep for Mikaere.
With so much experience in the Pulse lineup, the visitors had few problems using their cushion in the last quarter, eventually taking the game by eight goals.