Queensland Firebirds held firm to beat Northern Mystics 53-47 in Auckland to continue their unbeaten record against the New Zealand outfit in the trans-Tasman league.
The Queensland side made it eight wins-from-eight over the Mystics, never looking likely to lose after powering 11-3 ahead inside the first six minutes.
The home side closed to within five goals during the second quarter and again during the final quarter but the Firebirds were able to keep them at arm’s length to lodge a fifth successive win this season and remain second in the Australian conference.
They haven’t been beaten since an opening-round loss against competition leaders West Coast Fever, with their record including a 58-50 fifth-round home win against the Mystics.
Despite two straight defeats, the Mystics remain top of the New Zealand conference, three points ahead of Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.
They paid for a slow start but when Silver Ferns goal shoot Cathrine Latu replaced Paula Griffin in the second quarter, the Mystics went on to win the period 11-8 to trail 25-20 at halftime.
However, the Firebirds midcourt established control after the break and their shooters were able to take 72 combined shots to the Mystics’ 51.
Jamaican Romelda Aiken (42 goals from 53 shots) and Gretel Tippett (11/19) could afford to be a little wayward in the winners’ shooting circle.
Latu slotted 15/15 while goal attack Maria Tutaia’s excellent 28/30 featured a large number of trademark long-range bombs.
The Mystics conceded too many turnovers and lacked discipline while they were also well beaten in the rebound stakes, with the towering Aiken pulling in 10.
The result continues Australian teams’ dominance in trans-Tasman games this season.
New Zealand sides have failed to win any of the past 18 games since the Magic pipped Adelaide Thunderbirds 45-44 in the championship opener in February.
The Firebirds have won their past eight matches in New Zealand.