Not even the Harrison Hoist could save the Northern Mystics as they were tipped up 48-46 by the Waikato-BOP Magic in a tense ANZ Championship clash at Auckland's Trusts Stadium tonight.
Trailing 43-35 early in the final quarter the Mystics looked done and dusted, however they struck back with six straight goals to find themselves just two behind heading into the closing stages of the game.
Both sides had chances to seal the deal late in the game, but tight defence, including Mystics defender Anna Harrison being lifted high to disrupt a Magic shot, made it hard to score. However it was the Magic who were able to hold their nerve and cling to their slender lead for their seventh straight win.
That result sees the Magic move into the top four for the time being, while the Mystics have been dislodged from the top of the ladder, level with the Thunderbirds and Vixens on 16 points.
It was the gritty defence of the Magic that gave them the advantage as Casey Williams and Leanna de Bruin limited the Mystics' ability to feed sharp-shooter Cathrine Latu who only missed one of her 19 shots. That forced Maria Tutaia into taking more shots from long-range at a much lower success rate of 28/38.
For the Magic Irene van Dyk was as solid as ever with 28/30, while Julianna Naoupu shot at a less impressive 20/30.
The Mystics will look to get their run to the finals back on track next Sunday against the hapless Canterbury Tactix, while the Magic will have to travel to Adelaide to meet the in form Thunderbirds.