The Tactix have outlasted the Northern Mystics 80-78 in an
extra-time thriller in Christchurch tonight to notch just their
fifth victory in the last four seasons.
The two Kiwi franchises were absolutely desperate leading into
the contest after opening the trans-Tasman netball league with
three straight losses. It showed in the netball, with the two teams
fighting for every loose ball, and producing the game of the season
After the scores were locked up at 63-apiece at the end of
normal time, the teams duelled it out for two seven minute
The Mystics took a one goal lead into the extra-time
intermission, but Jo Harten pulled the Tactix back level again
after pulling down her own rebound.
Little separated the sides in extra-time, but it was he Tactix
who went ahead by a goal with one minute remaining. Catherine Latu
evened up the scores with a goal at the opposite end of the court,
only for youngster Sophia Fenwick to calmy put her side ahead
The Mystics' chances of a win drifted away when they were
penalised for stepping, handing possession over to the Tactix.
Harten brought the house down, landing the goal to give her second
a two-goal cushion and a rare victory.
The Mystics looked in trouble during the second half, as they
trailed by as many as 12 goals, but produced a brilliant second
half comeback to haul themselves back into the contest.
The Tactix went into halftime with a seven goal lead, but the
Mystics came out a completely different side to start the second
They were much more fluent on attack, with their midcourters
able to freely send the ball into shooters Cathrine Latu and Maria
Tutaia under the post. The Mystics also started to pick up more
ball defensively and place far more pressure around the circe
Trailing by two goals in the dying stages of the game, Tactix
goal keep Zoe Walker pulled off a crucial rebound, with Harten
converting at the other end of the court.
Latu gave the Mystics a 63-62 lead, before a pivotal turnover in
the midcourt handed the Tactix possession. Harten landed a crunch
goal to tie the scores, but on the final possession of the game,
her shot rimmed out with a chance to win the game.
The Mystics began chipping away at the Tactix lead and reduced
their deficit down totwo goals, with five minutes left in the third
quarter. Halftime replacement Jess Bourke impressed at goal keep,
teaming up nicely in the defensive end with Julie Corletto to
The young Tactix side, who have been the whipping girls of the
competition in recent years, started to panic as the Mystics clawed
their way back into the game. They committed too many unforced
errors bringing the ball through the court, and found it tough to
shut down the Mystics on attack, after doing a superb job in the
opening 30 minutes of action.
The Mystics hit the front for the first time in the game
in the closing stages of the third quarter and took a three goal
buffer into three quarter time.
Tactix coach Gibbs went to her bench in a desperate bid to
revive her side in the final quarter, inserting Bessie Manu back
into goal defence for Jo Trip. Keshia Grant also replaced Kirsten
Hurley, who had a quiet third quarter, after getting through some
pleasing work in the first half.
The Tactix did a great job of generating turnovers early in the
game, with the Mystics throwing several passes out of play across
Gibbs sprung something of a surprise to start the game, handing
Counties-Manukau product Hurley her first trans-Tasman netball
league start at wing defence, after debuting off the bench against
the Vixens last week.
That allowed English international Jade Clarke to push into her
preferred centre role, where she excelled in the first quarter, as
the Tactix jumped out to a 13-7 advantage early on.
Clarke was a handful in the midcourt, disrupting the Mystics'
through-court ball into the shooting end. She also teamed up nicely
on attack, feeding some beautiful passes into fellow English
international Harten, who converted all 30 of her attempts in the
The Tactix went into the first quarter break with a deserved
20-13 lead after getting the better of the Mystics in the opening
15 minutes of play.
In their opening three games, the Tactix have often let
themselves down after a pleasing quarter, but made a strong start
to the second term, scoring the first three goals to extend their
buffer out to 10 goals.
The Tactix take on the Magic in Tauranga next week, while the
Mystics host the Pulse.
Quarter scores: (Tactix first)
20-13, 37-30, 49-52, 63-63, 80-78
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