ANZ Premiership: Northern Mystics end Central Pulse's unbeaten run, Tactix beat Magic to remain second

Central Pulse have slumped to their first loss of the 2020 ANZ Premiership season, with Northern Mystics pulling off a stunning 44-42 come-from-behind at Porirua.

The Mystics trailed by five heading into the final quarter, but outscored the league leaders 14-7 in the last 12 minutes to snap the Pulse's 10-game winning streak. 

Despite defeat, the league-leading Pulse are still favourites to qualify for the final on August 23 in Invercargill, while the Mystics' win keeps them in the race for the title decider. 

The Mystics remain third in the ANZ Premiership standings, three points behind Mainland Tactix - who beat the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic earlier in the day - although the Auckland-based franchise has a game in hand. 

The Mystics and Tactix square off next Sunday, and the winners of that game likely to qualify for the final. 

Mystics fans can thank teenage goal shoot Grace Nweke for keeping them in the hunt, as she converted 38 of her 44 shots on goal, including 12 in the final quarter, while defenders Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick were immense in the closing stages of the game. 

The Pulse got off to a strong start and held a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, which was extended at halftime, when they led 23-20. 

The Pulse continued to apply pressure and took a 35-30 lead into the final quarter, before the Mystics launched their comeback.

Shooter Aliyah Dunn top-scored for the Pulse with 21 goals from 23 attempts, while Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio had a tough night, converting 20 of her 28 shots. 

Before facing the Tactix on Sunday, the Mystics travel to Invercargill to face Southern Steel on Friday night, with the Pulse also making the trip south for a clash on Saturday. 

Tactix defender Jane Watson.
Tactix defender Jane Watson. Photo credit: Photosport

Earlier, the Tactix claimed their fourth consecutive win of the season with a 44-35 result over the Magic at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena.

In the first game played in Hamilton this season, the Magic were unable to recover from a slow start, as they trailed 15-10 at the end of the first quarter. 

By the fourth quarter, the Magic managed to close the gap to just two goals, but Tactix lifted the intensity, limiting the hosts to just three goals down the stretch. 

The Magic are back in action on Monday night against Southern Steel, with the Tactix's next match against the Mystics on Sunday.

Mystics 44 (Grace Nweke 38/44, Filda Vui 2/2, Saviour Tui 4/4) Pulse 42 (Aliyah Dunn 21/23, Ameliaranne Ekenasio 20/28, Tiana Metuarau 1/2) 

Tactix 44 (Ellie Bird 26/30, Te Paea Selby-Rickit 16/18, Jess Prosser 2/2) Magic 35 (Kelsey McPhee 17/22, Abigail Latu-Meafou 18/22) 

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