ANZ Premiership: Grace Nweke shines as Northern Mystics take victory over Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic

Northern Mystics have closed the gap on rivals Northern Stars at the top of the ANZ Premiership, defeating Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 68-63 in Hamilton.

A 57-goal outing from Grace Nweke condemned the Magic to another defeat - with Waikato-Bay of Plenty's only victory in 2021 coming against the Mystics in the first round of the competition in April.

Nweke missed just four shots over the course of the match, and was backed up by Filda Vui (8/11) and Bailey Mes (3/5).

For the Magic, Australian import Caitlin Bassett topscored with an impressive 36 from 41, and had valuable support from Chiara Semple (17/20) and Khiarna Williams (10 from 14).

But the home side's cause wasn't helped by the loss of goal keep Temalisi Fakahokotau to an ankle injury just before halftime.

Fakahokotau's defensive presence was clear during the first half, as the Magic took an 18-16 advantage from the first quarter and a 36-34 lead into halftime.

But once the Silver Ferns defender left the court, the Mystics clawed their way back to level the scores at 52-all into the final quarter.

And even with scores locked at 60-all entering the final stages, the Mystics showed their class to outscore the Magic 8-3 to finish and take victory.

Meanwhile, Southern Steel beat Mainland Tactix 47-45 in a battle of mid-table teams.

The Steel completed a dramatic late, come-from-behind rally to clinch the points and remain third in the standings, three points ahead of the Tactix.

After nine rounds the Stars have 22 points, Mystics 21, Steel 18, Tactix 15, Pulse 14 and Magic 7.