Photo/Supplied (Michael Bradley Photography)
The Pulse came from behind to dismantle the Steel 47-40, after a withering last quarter Saturday evening at the Auckland Netball Centre.
In imposing form for three-quarters, the Steel shooters were restricted to just five goals in the closing quarter and were left scoreless for the first six minutes. At the other end, Pulse shooters Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn produced a rare double with perfect returns, Ekenasio with 25/25 and Dunn 22/22.
Both sides started with familiar line-ups, the Pulse looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and the Steel keen to build on their success of last weekend in which they won 49-47 over the Stars.
It was an enterprising start by both teams but it was goal attack Ekenasio who helped the Pulse get the better of the opening exchanges. She was in the thick of the action in setting up the circle while also providing the bulk of the scoring opportunities.
The Steel took time to find shooters Jennifer O’Connell and Kalifa McCollin but eventually fought their way back from a six-goal deficit to trail the Pulse 14-11 at the first break.
Turnovers highlighted the resumption of play before both teams settled into their work, the Pulse giving up a five-goal lead as the Steel staged a comeback with wing attack Gina Crampton playing a leading role with pin-perfect accuracy into O’Connell.
The Pulse were thrown off their stride, with shooters Ekenasio and Dunn restricted to just nine shots.
Six goals on the trot pushed the Steel into the lead for the first time as they held on for a narrow 24-23 advantage at half-time.
A goal-for-goal arm wrestle featured in the early stages of the third quarter before the Steel made the most of their increased turnover opportunities helped by the impact of Trinidad and Tobago import McCollin.
With defenders Te Huniga Reo Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita limiting the Pulse on attack, the third quarter ended with the Steel up 35-33 and the Pulse with it all ahead of them.
The Pulse turned the tables in outstanding fashion in the final quarter however to earn a hard-fought and entertaining victory.
Official Result and Stats:
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse: 47
Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel: 40
Shooting Stats - Pulse:
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 25/25 (100%)
Aliyah Dunn 22/22 (100%)
Shooting Stats - Steel:
Jennifer O'Connell 27/32 (84.4%)
Kalifa McCollin 13/14 (92.9%)
MVP: Ameliaranne Ekenasio (Pulse)