Two big intercepts from Joline Henry in the second period of extra time have helped the Central Pulse to a 56-53 upset over trans-Tasman netball leaders Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.
In a see-sawing thriller in Hamilton, the Pulse were up 50-49 when Henry’s two interventions allowed them to establish the final decisive break.
Monday’s loss was the first of the season for the Magic after six rounds, but they remain top of the ANZ Championship table, while the Pulse have improved their record to 3-3.
The visitors produced some stifling defensive pressure through the court, which slowed the Magic attack and made gaps difficult to find in the goal third.
One notable statistic was that Magic goal defence Casey Kopua took more centre pass receptions than any of her teammates.
Skipper Kopua herself produced a strong defensive effort in an intriguing match-up of present and past Silver Ferns at her end of the court – she and Leana de Bruin versus Pulse shooters Irene van Dyk and Donna Wilkins.
For van Dyk, it was a winning return to Hamilton to face her former team.
But while she (32 from 36) and Wilkins (24 from 29) shot at a combined 86 per cent, they couldn’t match the 96 per cent accuracy of Magic pair Ellen Halpenny and Jo Harten.
Halpenny and Harten each missed only one attempt in scoring 27 and 26 goals respectively.
The Pulse made an impressive start, getting the game’s first five goals to open out the biggest lead of the night.
The Magic worked their way back to level at 6-6 and from there the match swung back and fourth.
The score was tied at 33-33 at three-quarter time and the sides still couldn’t be separated with 30 seconds of regulation time to go.
As the clock ticked down, Wilkins put the Pulse in front, only for Harten to reply with four seconds left to send the contest in overtime.