Spoiler alert. Heres one you might have heard before: A week is a long time in sport.
That time-honoured cliché rang no truer than in the North Shore on Saturday evening, as the Southern Steel crashed back down to earth in round two of the ANZ Premiership.
Just six days after blowing away title favourites, the Mainland Tactix, by 18 goals, the southerners were comfortably beaten 64-58 by the Northern Mystics at Eventfinda Stadium.
In the end, the Steel were competitive, but were never truly in it, made to pay for a horror opening quarter, as not even English goal shoot George Fishers remarkable 100 per cent shooting (42 from 42) was a factor.
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Instead, towering 19-year-old Grace Nwekes whopping 56 from 60 was the key, and the Mystics bounced back from their first-up loss to the Magic, perhaps no coincidence that assistant coach Rob Wright was now able to be with them from Australia.
There was no sign of what was to come during the first half of the first quarter, as the teams quietly traded goals.
But the big turning point came when Fisher put a foot out of court, and the Mystics pounced to open a two-goal lead.
Little did the visitors know that was going to be the start of the end for them.
Soon after, Tiana Metuarau missed a shot and the Mystics again made them pay, netting twice quickly, then a fine intercept from Kate Burley set them up for two more, to all of a sudden go ahead by six.
It didnt stop there for the Steel, with a stray pass then ruining their cause further, and Nweke netted again, and again, and all of a sudden it was 16-8 and a long way back for the southerners.
Down 19-11 at the first break, the visitors managed to narrow the deficit to five early in the second quarter, but, with Burley producing some eye-catching defensive work, and Elisapeta Toeava some great drives through court, in the blink of an eye the margin was back to eight, then 10.
And at 36-27 at halftime, the Mystics had scored as many goals as the Tactix had managed in their entire 60 minutes against the Steel last weekend.
The Steel were enjoying a 96 per cent shooting percentage, but just didnt have the volume required, as the Mystics defence, which included the introduction of English international Ama Agbeze late in the third quarter, squeezed them around the circle and slowed any sort of flow.
Its not like the visitors didnt have their chances to get back into the contest in the third stanza, with a pick-up with around six minutes left, with them down 43-36, providing their golden opportunity.
But while Fisher made up for Metuaraus missed shot, Metuarau wasnt able to have her blushes spared next time, with Fishers pass back in court sent to a blue dress.
The Steel kept at it, and got back to within five, but with the Mystics able to flick the switch and have Nweke goal at a rapid rate, at 48-41 at three-quarter-time they were as good as safe.
AT A GLANCE
Mystics 64 (Grace Nweke 56/60, Baily Mes 8/9) Steel 58 (George Fisher 42/42, Tiana Metuarau 16/21)
Quarter scores: 1Q: 19-11, HT: 36-27,3Q: 48-41
Stuff MVP points: Grace Nweke 3, Elisapeta Toeava 2, George Fisher 1

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