ANZ Premiership: Northern Mystics break losing streak against WBOP Magic

Northern Mystics have cracked a six-game losing streak to record their first win of the 2019 ANZ Premiership, overcoming Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 54-44 in Auckland.

Trailling by nine goals in the second quarter and four at half-time, the home side swung momentum their way with an 18-10 third quarter and stretched their lead down the home straight.

While captain Phoenix Karaka earned most-valuable-player honours, the introduction of teenage shooter Grace Nweke under goal played a major part in turning the contest around.

Starting goal attack Jamie Hume struggled under the close attention of veteran defender Case Kopua, slotting just three of her 12 attempts to open the game. When Mweke replaced Hume in the second period, the 17-year-old proved a more reliable option, converting 33/38 as her team's primary target.

In the final quarter, the Magic scored five consecutive goals to close within one at 44-43, but their rivals finished 10-1 - including seven unanswered goals - to open their winning account.  

"A 'W' on the board feels really good, but I think it was the way they won," beamed Northern coach Helene Wilson afterwards. "They came from behind and ground it out when the pressure got tough."

Only the previous day, the Mystics had fallen 64-50 to crosstown rivals Northern Stars, shooting less than 70 percent, but showed their grit to bounce back quickly.

But Wilson was reluctant to promote Nweke into her starting line-up too quickly, despite her sterling performance.

"I think I have to be really careful with her," she said. "We can all see her talent, but she's a really young person.

"It's really important that I don't put her out there and put pressure on her to save the woes of the Mystics, when we've lost - it's not her job.

"Her job is to grow and perform and be better." 

With one win under their belts, another winnable game looms for the Mystics on Sunday, when they host two-win/five-loss Mainland Tactix.