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Mystics power past Tactix in the ANZ Netball Championships
On the back of a personal haul of 45 goals, Cathrine Latu powered the LG Mystics to a comprehensive 62-43 win over the Mercury Energy Tactix in Auckland today.
Looking to make the Finals Series for the first time, Mystics stayed on track with one round of the regular season remaining, outclassing the Tactix with a telling second half. Strong all over the court, Mystics came back from a shaky second quarter with a quality second 30 minutes as they over-ran the Tactix in all facets.
Mystics looked sharp from the outset as they got off to a flying start in an entertaining and fast-paced opening stanza. Megan Dehn stepped into the wing attack's bib for the injured Grace Rasmussen, the Mystics silky and fluent on attack.
Latu was on-song from the opening whistle, ruling the Mystics shooting circle as she went on to convert 13 goals from 14 attempts in a blistering start. At the other end, Mystics defenders Anna Scarlett and Kayla Cullen were all over shooters Donna Wilkins and Anna Thompson, their team work and long reach creating havoc in the Tactix circle.
While they had plenty of opportunities, Tactix went for the risky option too many times and paid the price. The old heads of Dehn and midcourt maestro Temepara George ensured a slick and abundant supply of ball to Latu and Maria Tuitaia as the home team powered their way to a 17-10 lead at the first break.
Stern words from their coach and a series of positional changes resulted in a stirring fightback from the Tactix on the resumption. Anna Galvan provided strong resistance from wing defence while Wilkins and Thompson offered real movement and options in the shooting circle as the visitors trimmed back the deficit.
Mystics' opportunities were reduced on the back of a staunch effort from in-circle defenders Charlotte Kight and Finau Pulu who shut down the spaces effectively. Tactix also cleaned up their turnover rate, denying Mystics the extra supply they had dined out on in the first quarter.
The visitors took the honours in the second quarter, producing a willing contest as Mystics went to halftime leading 28-24 but with a game on their hands.
That all changed as the home team stormed out of the blocks on the resumption, strong driving through the midcourt and expert feeding to Latu helping Mystics restore their opening seven-goal buffer.
The intensity of their effort transferred to the rest of the court, the Tactix struggling against the relentless pressure. Turnovers crept back into visitors game, Mystics revelling under the conditions.
Latu dominated in the circle, setting up camp under the hoop, the Mystics turning on a dazzling display through court as the scoreline mounted. At the other end, Scarlett continued her hugely impressive game, picking off intercept ball at will, giving the Tactix shooters a torrid time as the home team hit the last break with a 46-36 lead.
There was more of the same in the final stanza. Relentless defending and plenty of ball continuing to find the capable hands of Latu and Tutaia ensured Mystics finished off proceedings in rampant fashion.