A third successive win heralded another significant milestone for the Central Pulse when they shut out the Canterbury Tactix 54-47 in Christchurch today.
It was the first time in their history that Pulse have recorded three wins in a row while at the same time it kept their slim playoff hopes alive. The Pulse’s growing composure was evident throughout after they recovered from a slow start to build a solid foundation and methodically stamp their authority on the match.
The Tactix produced some impressive passages but in the tale of their season, inconsistency proved their undoing. Time and again, they were in a position to seriously challenge but untimely lapses cost them dearly.
Both teams stuck with their settled line-ups of recent weeks which included the new-look Pulse midcourt of Camilla Lees (wing attack), Joline Henry (centre) and Katarina Cooper (wing defence), the catalyst of back-to-back wins for the team from the Capital.
Finding an easy passage into their goal circle, the Tactix made the most promising of starts to score the opening five goals of the match where England import Jo Harten showed her growing confidence under the hoop.
The home team won plenty of turnover ball and were well served by captain Maree Bowden and Anna Thompson on attack where they outshone the Pulse for fluency but as has happened for much of the season, the Tactix were unable to make full use of their plentiful supply. The Pulse recovered from their slow start, reeling the home team in on the back of the ever-impressive accuracy of shooter Caitlin Thwaites to leave the scores all tied up at 14-all at the first break.
A lift in defensive pressure and more accuracy on attack pushed the Pulse into the lead on the resumption and a position of dictating terms. The Pulse attackers got the jump on their defenders, the machine-like finishing of Thwaites ensuring the buffer was extended out to nine at one stage.
The home team frittered away too much possession but a mini late quarter revival helped stop the rot, trimming the Pulse’s lead at the main break to 31-26.
Jo Trip replaced Anna Galvan at goal defence for the second half which coincided with a storming start for the Tactix. Quick transfer of the ball paid dividends for the home team, Harten and fellow shooter Ellen Halpenny hauling their team back into the game as they drew within one.
Just as quickly, all the hard work was undone by crucial errors and poor option taking. The ill-discipline was punished by the Pulse who were not called on to do anything out of the ordinary, their execution of the basics paying off in spades.
Showing a much greater accuracy with their finishing, the visitors finished the stanza in style, scoring six unanswered goals to take a solid 43-34 grip on the game heading into the last break.
Despite their best efforts, the frustrated Tactix, who continued to fade in and out of the game, could not halt the overall efficiency of the Pulse.