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Steel surge to six-goal win over Mystics

NZN 29/05/2016

Southern Steel have extended their unbeaten trans-Tasman netball league run to eight games, a last-quarter surge giving them a 66-60 win over the Northern Mystics in Dunedin on Sunday.

The Steel are now 10 points clear of the second-placed Mystics in the New Zealand conference, with their only blemish this season being a second-round 58-58 draw with Mainland Tactix.

The Mystics' season-long struggles with consistency continued, although they showed encouraging signs of improvement in the attacking third.

It took goal shoot Cathrine Tuivaiti an entire game to score 16 goals last week, her volume way down as the Mystics were beaten 49-45 by the Magic.

Against the Steel, a more determined Tuivaiti took a shade over 15 minutes to pass that tally as the Mystics midcourt shifted a steady supply of up-tempo ball into the circle.

Wing attack Nadia Loveday in particular showed some nice touches on the feed, and looked confident in firing in some pinpoint long-range ball.

With goal attack Maria Tutaia doing more work up-court, Tuivaiti (47 from 49) shouldered the bulk of the shooting in the first half, and Steel defenders Storm Purvis and Jane Watson struggled to find a way to disrupt her high-holding game.

Ahead 16-13 at the first break, the Mystics opened out a five-goal lead midway through the second spell before the Steel finished strongly to level the halftime score at 33-33.

Looking to shut Tuivaiti down, Steel coach Noeline Taurua benched Purvis at the break, bringing on the long-reaching Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.

The new combination worked well in generating some much-needed turnover ball, which was converted at the other end by the always-efficient Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (56 from 67) to give the Steel a narrow 49-48 lead at the three-quarter mark.

The Mystics battled their way back to level at 53-53 with just over 10 minutes remaining, but paid the price for a run of errors which allowed the home team to launch an unanswered seven-goal streak which proved crucial.

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