Mystics fend off Magic to post second win
A dominant second quarter powered the SKYCITY Mystics to a second straight win when they accounted for the WBOP Magic 67-62 in Auckland on Sunday.
The win was set up by a stunning 21-12 second quarter run by the home team but the Mystics were left anxiously looking over their shoulders as the Magic made a stirring second half revival.
Magic showed plenty of character in keeping the contest alive, closing within two in the run home but just unable to make the vital breakthrough. Mystics showed their experience to close out the game, the Magic pocketing a bonus point for their efforts.
Momentum swung back and forth during a free-flowing and entertaining opening stanza. Both teams impressed with their ability to thread slick ball through court with pace and accuracy, each team having their moments but unable to wrest the initiative.
On the back of another fine defensive showing with the in-form Anna Harrison again prominent, Mystics threatened to pull away but were unable to shake a dogged Magic, the teams unable to be separated when the scores were tied 15-all at the first break.
It was a different story on the resumption, the Mystics delivering a cracking 15 minutes to move into a position of control.
Harrison continued to shine, the veteran defender at her menacing best with her disruptive presence and ability to get a succession of intercepts and deflections. Turning the ball over at regular intervals injected renewed confidence as the Mystics showcased their flair and speed on attack.
Wing attack Elisapeta Toeava was a dangerous influence with her creativity and speed, handing the ball on a plate to shooters Maria Tutaia and Bailey Mes as the fast-scoring home team potted seven unanswered goals to build a healthy 36-27 lead at the main break.
Magic made the best starts to ensure the game did not blow out, the introduction of centre Ariana Cable-Dixon having a major impact.
The visitors made steady progress to eat into the deficit, reducing the margin to just four but were unable to maintain their consistent run. The overall strength and firepower in the Mystics ranks took its toll on Magic, who were made to pay for too many turnovers at critical times.
The Magic had the better of the stanza, winning it by three but the Mystics had done enough to maintain their grip when leading 52-46 at the last break.