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The LG Mystics found being 12 goals behind at half time just a little too tough against leading side, the Melbourne Vixens in their latest ANZ Championship match at the Trusts Stadium in Auckland.
The 61-57 loss was within grasp of the Mystics as they fought back well and looked like they could even take the match to extra time in front of a capacity crowd.
The home side were outplayed in the first half, but came back strongly in the third and fourth quarters to dominate play leaving a relieved Vixens to just hold on.
In the end there was very little difference in the shooting stats with Cathrine Latu at 92% after successfully nailing 36 from 49 while Pam Cookey gained 21 from 22. Overall they had 61 shots at goal. The Vixens had Ashlee Howard finishing with 25 from 27 and 93% while Caitlin Thwaites managed 36 from 42. In total they took 69 shots at goal.
The Vixens established an early four-goal buffer looking good at the end of the first quarter 18-14 ahead.
The well-drilled Vixens moved into overdrive on the resumption, their passage through court seemingly effortless as the score mounted in their favour.
The Mystics were unable to shut down the clinical efficiency of the Vixens on attack while at the other end of the court, the well-performed defensive combination of Julie Corletto and Bianca Chatfield made life tough for the home team shooters.
The pair picked off numerous intercepts as Latu and Cookey struggling to make an impact managing just 11 attempts at goal compared to 20 from the Vixens who eased ahead 36-24 at half time.
The introduction of defender Finau Pulu had a dramatic impact on the Mystics cause in the third quarter. Pulu pulled off several intercepts in the opening minutes on the back of a more committed defensive effort from her team-mates.
The new-found resolve through the side ignited some spark and flow with Cookey and Latu showing some inspiring touches in the goal circle.
There was more purpose throughout the court as the home team gradually pulled back the large deficit with Temepara George and Debbie White getting through a huge amount of work.
Missing the share of possession they had enjoyed earlier, the Vixens struggled at times to cope with the onslaught. However, their accuracy in the goal ensured they maintained a reduced lead when they headed into the last break 48-41 ahead.
With the Vixens clearly rattled a rampant Mystics failed to go away as their exciting chase continued through an entertaining final 15 minutes.
Narrowing the margin to just two goals in the closing minutes, the Mystics were ultimately let down by a lack lustre first half for the second week in a row.
The next match for the LG Mystics is against the Queensland Firebirds on Saturday 27 June at 2pm.