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Magic beat Mystics to continue revival

NZN 21/05/2016

Grace Rasmussen's influence at Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic was evident again as they came from behind to beat Northern Mystics 49-45 in a bruising trans-Tasman game in Hamilton.

The Magic climb off the bottom of the New Zealand conference with their second successive win, having lost their first five games of the ANZ Championship season while Rasmussen was sidelined with a calf injury.

The Silver Fern wing attack was again an influential figure as her side fought back from 26-24 down at halftime to inflict the Mystics' fifth loss of their stuttering campaign.

It was a physical clash between the two sides who were New Zealand's best in 2015 but who both face a challenge to qualify for this year's play-offs.

The umpires warned both more than once to tone down the ferocity of the collisions, with Mystics captain and goal attack Maria Tutaia handed a personal warning in the opening minutes.

The Mystics paid for over-physicality, penalised 71 times to the Magic's 42 in the biggest statistical difference between the teams.

Veteran Mystics defender Anna Scarlett was the chief offender, penalised 17 times. She stood out in the first half with four intercepts and four deflections but her influence faded in the second spell when she was shifted from goal keep to goal defence.

Otherwise, it was the slick offensive combination of 28-year-old Rasmussen and young Magic centre Samantha Sinclair which stood out.

As happened in last week's drought-breaking 58-57 win over the Tactix, the pair fed goal attack Jo Harten (30/34) with a steady supply of usable possession.

Tutaia (29/33) and Mystics goal shoot Cathrine Tuivaiti (16/16) were impressive but didn't receive the same degree of midcourt assistance.

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