In the Spotlight: LG Mystics

Champion Data, Wednesday, 11 May 2011.

The Auckland-based LG Mystics are finally living up to their potential. With arguably one of the best shooting combinations in the game, a mid-court that is doing everything right and a defensive unit repelling almost every team, the Mystics have everything in place to be the first New Zealand team to finally win the ANZ Championship title.
 
The Mystics have now notched up two significant wins on Australian soil this year, their first ever in Round 9 against the West Coast Fever by 2 points, and then again last week in the cut-throat Minor Semi Final, where they were victorious over the NSW Swifts. It was the Mystics' first victory over the Swifts in five attempts. It couldn't have come at a better time.
 
After 13 games (12 rounds) the Mystics were a team featuring highly in almost all statistical categories. Not surprisingly, when their team boasts a shooting attack of Cathrine Latu and Maria Tutaia, they have scored 684 goals, the second-most in the competition, with only the ladder-topping Queensland Firebirds above them. However what makes the high ranking so impressive is that the Mystics have recorded the second lowest number of misses for the year. The four shooters for the Mystics this season - Latu, Tutaia, Megan Dehn and Bailey Mes - have missed on only 118 occasions between them. Only the WBOP Magic shooters have missed fewer shots, registering 116, just two less than the Mystics.
 

 

Cathrine Latu has been nothing short of sensational this season, shooting at a competition high of 93% (414 goals from 445 attempts). Latu has missed only 25 attempts on goal in short range and six from the long bomb area. Latu is also a member of the Perfect Shooters Club (refer Round 2 In the Spotlight'), notching up an impressive six perfect shooting games. She had shot two perfect games prior to 2011, but has excelled this season, adding four more to her records (or five if you count Round 10 in which she didn't miss an attempt but only played the first three quarters). This has now seen her overtake Irene van Dyk from the WBOP Magic, who has five entries in the Perfect Shooters Club.


It is not just the shooting prowess of the LG Mystics that has seen them reach the Preliminary Final this year, but a number of players all over the court that are making their mark in 2011, especially the powerhouse Anna Scarlett in defense.

  • Out of the 439 goal assists recorded by the Mystics, ranked second highest in the competition and only four behind the undefeated Queensland Firebirds, team captain Temepara George has registered 178 of them.
  • The Mystics have recorded 96 rebounds this season, which includes 58 from the defensive end; ranked second in the competition behind the West Coast Fever. Defender Anna Scarlett leads the way with 33, ranking her fifth overall, whereas at the other end of the court Cathrine Latu has recorded 39 offensive rebounds, ranking her second in the competition behind Romelda Aiken from the Queensland Firebirds.
  • Not only featuring in defensive rebounds, Anna Scarlett is also leading the way for the Mystics in intercepts taken with 31, 14 behind competition leader Laura Geitz from the Queensland Firebirds. At the end of the regular season, the Mystics had a combined intercept tally of 92 which was only eight behind the Firebirds.
  • The Mystics were equal fourth in deflections with 212 which was only eight behind the West Coast Fever who lead the competition. Not surprisingly, Anna Scarlett leads the way for the Mystics with 85, only two behind the number one ranked Leana de Bruin from the Southern Steel, who finished the season with 87.
  • The Mystics finished the regular season as the leading team for Gains with 204. Anna Scarlett had 89 followed by Kayla Cullen with 45 and Rachel Rasmussen with 31.
  • The Mystics (or should I say Anna Scarlett herself) were the leading team for blocking shots at the end of the regular season, finishing with 15. Scarlett recorded 14 of these, which was nine more blocks than her closest rivals Sonia Mkoloma from the NSW Swifts and Susan Fuhrmann from West Coast Fever, who both recorded five.
  • An area of concern for the Mystics team management is that they lead the competition for turnovers, recording 278 for the season, 27 more than the bottom of the table Canterbury Tactix. Not surprisingly, considering the ball is constantly moving in and out of their hands every time the Mystics have possession, Cathrine Latu and Temepara George are the highest ranked at the club, with 75 and 61 respectively.
  • The Mystics had 803 penalties recorded against them, which has them placed third for the year. This was a massive 145 behind the Adelaide Thunderbirds who finished the season with 947. At season's end, Anna Scarlett had conceded 211 penalties, ranked the third most in the competition. Kayla Cullen with 139 and Rachel Rasmussen with 115 are the second and third worst for penalties at the Mystics.

The LG Mystics are in a position never experienced before by their franchise. They qualified for the finals for the first time and then proceeded to convincingly beat one of the pre-season favourites, the NSW Swifts, on opposition soil. Despite being led by a couple of out-and-out superstars in Latu, Scarlett, George and Tutaia, the Mystics have also shown they have significant strength and depth to their playing list. The WBOP Magic awaits in next weekend's Preliminary Final, where the winner gets the chance to potentially slay the giants of 2011, the undefeated Queensland Firebirds. With multiple wins across the Tasman this year, it is obvious history hasn't worried the Mystics in 2011, so there is no reason why they can't keep the good form going for two more matches. And to put it simply, two more wins and the LG Mystics will claim the ultimate club Netball prize.