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Thunderbirds withstand Mystics surge

Published: 8:57PM Sunday April 22, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

  • Carla Borrego reels in a pass as Anna Harrison contests (Source: Photosport)
    Carla Borrego reels in a pass as Anna Harrison contests - Source: Photosport

The Adelaide Thunderbirds survived a late surge from the Northern Mystics, to win 50-48 in Auckland, ending the Mystics' three-match winning streak.

The Thunderbirds dominated the first two quarters, establishing a 27-22 lead at halftime, but the Mystics closed that gap by three points in the third period, before tying things up midway through the fourth.

Mistakes in attack turned the ball over at crucial moments for the Mystics however, allowing the Thunderbirds to once again build a three-point buffer on which they coasted home.

Thunderbirds goal keep Sharni Layton led the defence for the visitors, throwing herself at passes into the circle and refusing to allow a clear pass to the shooters with some sublime positional play.

The Mystics were made to fight much harder than the opposition to get the ball to their shooters, and were punished swiftly when their mistakes came.

At the other end, a fluid Thunderbirds offence ensured the Mystics paid for their indiscretions, with Carla Borrego sinking over 90% of her attempts.

Temepara George was lively for the Mystics, but with the pressure the Thunderbirds defence were applying, not even several inspired passes from her could win back the momentum for the hosts.

The Mystics were hampered early on by a poor start for Maria Tutaia, whose accuracy was languishing around 65% in the first two quarters.

Catherine Latu though, ensured the Mystics stayed in the match, shooting 11 from 11 - though she was often difficult to pinpoint in the circle, as the Adelaide defenders marked her well.

But the Mystics managed a to outscore the visitors in the third session, thanks largely to Anna Harrison's work in the defensive circle, where she won four intercepts inside ten minutes.

Though the Mystics managed two more turnovers to tie up the game in the fourth quarter, the stress on their attack showed, and the Thunderbirds capitalised to move level with the Mystics on six points in the championship ladder.