ANZ Premiership: Grace Nweke perfection steers Northern Mystics over crosstown rivals Northern Stars

Silver Ferns shooter Grace Nweke has produced a faultless performance to guide Northern Mystics home 62-59 over ANZ Premiership leaders Northern Stars at Auckland.

The towering attacker returned 46/46 under goal for her team, who have drawn level with their crosstown rivals atop the competition ladder with their victory.

After a slow start that saw them fall 6-2 behind early, the Mystics scored seven unanswered goals to lead 17-14 after the opening quarter and were never seriously tested, stretching their advantage to 10 goals during the second quarter.

The Stars closed strongly, scoring seven of the last 10 goals of the contest, but not enough to overhaul their opponents. 

Mystics defenders Phoenix Karaka and Carys Stythe dominated the Stars attack, which provided 107 circle feeds to its shooters, but was limited to just 72 attempts on goal.

By comparison, Nweke and goal attack Monica Falkner converted 62 of their 75 feeds.   

"Stars are very good, very strong and they showed that throughout the whole game, so for us to withstand that and come away with the win, I was really proud," said Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick.

The Mystics lost Fitzpatrick early in the opening period with a knee injury, but Stythe stepped in to fill the void superbly. 

"I'll be alright, just precautionary," she said. "The girls that went out on the court did their job and deserved to stay out there."

While Nweke went perfect, NZ teammate Maia Wilson shot an outstanding 32/34 at the other end of the court, but also limped off midway through the final quarter with an Achilles/calf niggle.

"For the long run, with the World Cup, it's not worth trying to test it," she said. "I came off, but it is what it is."

Mystics improve to 3-1 for the season, but Stars (3-2) retain their competition leadership through superior goal differential.  Mystics face winless Southern Steel on Saturday, while Stars take on resurgent Mainland Tactix on Sunday.

Northern Mystics 62 (Nweke 46/46, Falkner 15/17) Northern Stars 59 (Wilson 32/34, Malesala 19/24, Hume 8/14)