In broke a seven-game losing streak for Mystics as they recorded their first-ever win against their neighbours, who seemingly had the match under control.
It was a cruel blow for Magic, who had led from the outset but failed to build on the numerous leads they established. They failed to completely shake a determined and battling Mystics, who benefited from a last-gasp deflection which an on-form Maria Tutaia potted for a memorable win.
Magic paid little heed to the pre-match favouritism which leaned heavily towards the Mystics with a near-perfect start. Slick and almost seamless transfer through court was in direct contrast to Mystics, who were more laboured.
With the versatile Jess Tuki getting the nod at wing attack and last weeks shining light Julianna Naoupu at goal attack, Irene van Dyk provided the finishing under the hoop for Magic.
A strong finish by Australian import Megan Dehn last week gave her the nod over Silver Fern Tutaia at goal attack for Mystics but the visitors had all sorts of problems penetrating a solid Magic defence.
After a relatively slow start to the season, Casey Williams came to light with a livewire performance, getting the better of shooting sensation Cathrine Latu in the opening stages.
Well supported defensively by Jodi Tod, Peta Scholz and Laura Langman, Mystics were rattled into a string of errors as the home team rolled out to a five goal advantage. However, a late quarter surge kept Mystics well in touch as Magic went to the first break with a 12-9 lead.
Tutaia made her entrance on the resumption, replacing Dehn, who had been well contained. Again the transition from Magic through court was copybook as the visitors struggled for urgency and accuracy.
With a quality delivery of ball, van Dyk revelled under the hoop while Williams was at her best, disrupting the flow to Mystics shooters with her aerial skills while gleaning nine deflections.
As in the first quarter, Mystics made a late run, securing some turnover ball and with Tutaia sinking a clutch of long range goals, it was the Magic by a narrow 22-21 at halftime.
Going toe-to-toe through a tight and tense third quarter, the defensive pressure from both teams intensified. There was an increase in physicality as players bounced off each other with repeated regularity. The spoiling tactics of lofty defenders Anna Scarlett and Kayla Cullen stalled Magics momentum at times but the growing rapport of van Dyk and the talented Naoupu was influential.
Magics smothering defensive wall across Mystics attacking third was instrumental in halting the visitors flow and ensuring their ball delivery lacked accuracy. Accurate, long range shooting from Tutaia kept the visitors in the hunt but errors at crucial times left them chasing as the home team headed down the home straight with a 35-33 lead.
Magic kept their noses in front for most of a pulsating final quarter before Mystics came back to level the scores with under four minutes to go. It stayed level-pegging until a vital deflection from Scarlett was converted by a red-hot Tutaia to give Mystics a vital one-goal edge with just seconds remaining.
photos Janos Schmidt
photos Janos Schmidt