Mystics fall to Vixens ahead of playoffs

Jun 1, 2015 - 9:38 AM The Northern Mystics will go into the New Zealand conference final on the back of a disappointing 56-48 defeat to the Melbourne Vixens in the Trans-Tasman Netball League.

The last match of the league's regular season was effectively a dead rubber.

The Mystics had already cemented top spot in the New Zealand conference, while 2014 champions Melbourne were out of Australian playoff contention.

But the Mystics, with a sub-par shooting display, failed to get the good dress rehearsal they would have hoped before meeting either the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic or the Southern Steel at the same venue next Monday.

Sharpshooter Cathrine Latu, nursing a throat infection, sat out the first three quarters, during which the home side put up more shots but ended 42-38 behind.

Latu was again her accurate self in her 15 minutes on court, with nine goals from 10 attempts, but fellow Silver Fern Maria Tutaia had an off-night, finishing with 16/30.

The result continued the Mystics' failure to record a win over an Australian side this year, their best effort being a 51-51 draw away to the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

For the Vixens, the victory meant they were able to send off retiring skipper Bianca Chatfield in style, the world championship and Commonwealth Games-winning defender closing a 17-year career with her 111th ANZ Championship appearance.

With England wing defence Serena Guthrie in lively form and picking up intercepts, the Mystics took a 16-14 lead into the first break.

But the Vixens lifted their intensity and the speed of their ball movement through court to go into halftime up 30-27.

With their own wing defence, Chloe Watson, playing an influential role, the visitors also won the last two quarters.

Source: AAP

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