Steel picks up victory over Pulse
Southern Steel picked up a stunning 66-63 win over Pulse in Wellington.
In the decisive first time of the 2022 ANZ Premiership season, Steel shocked Pulse who were up 11 after the third quarter.
In the only game played in another pandemic-disrupted round, home side Pulse looked to have the measure of steel with co-captain Kelly Jury in spectacular form, a mere march to the finish line looking eminent .
But the Steels had other ideas despite the fact that their veteran coach and defender had to stay at home in the Deep South.
The Steel outscored the Pulse 19-8 in the fourth quarter, tying the scores 59-all at the end of regulation time.
They took the lead for the first time in the game, in the first period of overtime, with a superb interception from substitute goalkeeper Sarahpheinna Woulf, who won the game of her young career for an MVP title, and they didn’t never gave up on that. carry out.
It had been a hugely troubling few days for the Southerners – flying to Rotorua to have their game against the Magic postponed. Although they were without coach Reinga Bloxham (non-Covid), she was in regular contact throughout the game with assistant coach Jo Morrison, who had stepped into the breach.
The Pulse got off to an electrifying start, capitalizing on small base mistakes by the Steel, and quickly racking up eight goals against the Steel one.
The deal between Tiana Metuarau and Aliyah Dunn comes back every game and they were in impressive form early on; the steel initially seemed to lack leadership in defending the absentee Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
On the other end, Jury was making life difficult for Steel shooters George Fisher and Savior Tui, so Tui was replaced before the end of the quarter by Georgia Heffernan. The change made a significant difference, with Heffernan unafraid to turn and shoot with pinpoint accuracy. And with his twin sister Kate in the center superbly reading the room to grab crucial interceptions, the steel came within four.
But the Pulse took another flurry just before the first-quarter break to establish their biggest lead of the quarter, 18-11.
The Steel returned to the field with new energy, especially with their young defense of Woulf and Kate Burley, and with five goals in a row, again managed to reduce the deficit to four.
Keen to stem the tide, Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie changed her midfield, with the combination of Ainsleyana Puleiata and Paris Lokotui providing benefits to the home side, and they had a healthy eight-goal advantage at halftime, 34-26.
The Pulse’s formidable shooting duo were nearly unstoppable in the first half – Dunn missing just one of 31 attempts and Metuarau sinking all four.
The third quarter, however, belonged to the defenders. Woulf and Burley in the steel circle were on the hunt and stole an important ball during the spell – but their offense couldn’t convert that hard-earned possession into points, under huge pressure from Jury and his team. partners.
Parris Mason had the chance to stretch his arms in goal defense for the Pulse, replacing hardworking Kristiana Manu’a, and for the first time this season the Pulse won the third quarter, entering the last spell 51-40.
But the game was far from over. The Steel pounced again, eventually knitting as a unit all the way up the pitch, pushed on by captain Shannon Saunders, and with four minutes left they were just three goals away from a surprise.
This is when you would normally expect the Pulse to return, but with Burley and Woulf fired up, the game was stalled at the end of the 60 minutes, with Georgia Heffernan firing the goal that put the game on. game in overtime.
Shooting Stats – Pulse:
Aliyah Dunn 52/53 (98%)
Tiana Metuarau 11/12 (92%)
Shooting Stats – Steel:
George Fisher 48/50 (96%)
Georgia Heffernan 15/16 (94%)
Savior Tui 3/7 (43%)
MVP: Sarahpheinna Woulf (steel)