Pulse fade to big loss after sound start
The Central Pulse faded badly to be thumped 60-46 by the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Porirua on Sunday evening.
For much of the opening half it appeared the Pulse could challenge for a victory against Australia’s weakest side, but a dreadful opening to the second half put paid to that.
The Pulse made a late run, but the perplexing coaching decision to leave Te Amo Amaru-Tibble – all three missed shots and four turnovers worth of her – on court in the fourth quarter saw that run stumble.
Katrina Grant was a menace for the Pulse, winning the ball back 11 times, but turnovers up the other end left the defender unable to hide her disappointment.
‘‘We had pin-pointed this one,’’ Grant said after the game. ‘‘They hadn’t won a game, so it was kind of like, this is a chance to get a win under our belt ... but it didn’t come through. We had a pretty shocking third quarter, but ... if we played like we did at the start of the fourth it would have been a different story.
‘‘We’ve got so much potential, but this season nobody’s really seen it. It’s frustrating.’’
It was easy to tell that these were two teams at the base of their respective competition ladders. They were far from slick, turning the ball over with regularity and often failing to capitalise on those errors.
Giant Thunderbirds goal shoot Kristina Brice was proving a handful for Grant and Phoenix Karaka. The 1.96m tall colossus was far from mobile, but winning a duel for a high ball against her was near impossible.
At the other end there were a number of mix-ups between shooter Maia Wilson and her midcourt.
Despite obvious issues, the Pulse had a two goal lead midway through the first quarter only to switch off for two minutes to end the quarter three goals down.
There was more of the same in the second quarter as the Pulse probably edged the majority of the play, only to turn off again and trail by three at the half.
What was a tight, ebbing and flowing game was blown out straight after halftime as the Thunderbirds went on an 8-1 run.
It wasn’t as if the Thunderbirds all of a sudden got good. They continued to miss shots and turn the ball over, but the Pulse were handing the ball straight back in the attacking end.
By the end of the third the Thunderbirds led by 12, leaving the Pulse needing a near miracle in the fourth to bring the game back.
Unfortunately, despite some accurate shooting by Ameliaranne Wells and some staunch defense from Karaka, Grant and the newly introduced Clare Kersten, the Pulse couldn’t pull it off.
Ameliaranne Wells of the Pulse was accurate around the goal.