Back-to-back wins for Pulse
Mon, 28 May 2012 9:37p.m.
Central Pulse recorded their first back- to-back trans-Tasman netball league wins in five years with a 58-50 win over Southern Steel in Dunedin on Monday night.
The Pulse downed the Steel 47-42 in round two, but both teams were fielding new-look sides in the ninth round clash at Lion Foundation Arena.
Long-time Silver Ferns defender Joline Henry reprised her outstanding role at centre from last week's 49-45 win over the Thunderbirds.
Her strong defensive game kept young Steel centre Shannon Francois constantly under pressure, as the southerners kept working to bed in a new midcourt combination which featured goal attack Jodi Brown out on the wing.
The long-time shooter impressed in an unfamiliar position as the Steel look to cover for young midcourter Courtney Tairi, out for the season with ruptured knee ligaments.
Young shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit, sister of Pulse defender Te Huinga Reo, got her first start of the season in Brown's place.
She lacked a little confidence, only shooting five from nine as the Pulse eased away to lead 12-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Caitlin Thwaites and Paula Griffin worked the circle well as the second quarter progressed, Griffin moving with confidence in slicing along the baseline and providing a range of options for her feeders.
A strong finish to the spell gave the Pulse a 26-21 lead at halftime, a useful lead which evaporated rapidly after the Steel made wholesale changes for the third quarter.
Brown shifted back to goal shoot, while Phillipa Finch shifted to drive the attack from centre with Louise Thayer replacing her at wing defence.
The new midcourt combination clicked almost immediately, the Steel's speed in driving to the circle leaving the Pulse half a pace behind as the home team closed the gap to two.
The Pulse rallied, finishing the spell with a last-minute lay-up from Thwaites to lead 41-36 with 15 minutes remaining.
The Pulse's strong court-wide defensive effort in the final spell, led by a tenacious spoiling game from wing defence Katarina Cooper, shut out the Steel 17-14 as the Pulse recorded their fourth win of the season.
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