A new-look midcourt helped lift the Mystics to a 59-53 win over Canterbury Tactix in their trans-Tasman netball league first round match in Christchurch.
Wing attack Camilla Lees provided the drive in the front third, while English international Serena Guthrie added grit at wing defence as a strong final quarter saw the Mystics home.
Goal shoot Cathrine Latu missed only three shots from 35, while goal attack Maria Tutaia impressed inside and outside the circle with 23 from 28.
The Tactix ended the first quarter on an eight-goal run to take a 17-10 lead into the first break, rookie Mystics shooter Elsa Brown struggling to sink four from seven for the spell.
The Mystics were looking to ease Latu back after emergency appendix surgery last month, but the Silver Ferns shooter looked fit and sharp when she took the court after 15 minutes.
The Mystics’ struggles with timing in the front third disappeared with Latu’s return, her combination with Tutaia in the circle freeing up more space and simplifying the feed from midcourters Laura Langman and Camilla Lees.
Increased shooting volume and improved accuracy allowed the Mystics to peg back the Tactix lead to 29-26 at halftime, and they lifted further to win the third quarter 17-11 and take a 43-40 lead in the final 15 minutes.
Tactix coach Sue Hawkins made good on her promise to use her bench, making regular switches in position and introducing new players in a bid to keep the Mystics off-balance.
Tactix shooter Mwai Kumwenda, either out at goal attack or under the post at goal shoot, was outstanding in her athleticism and accuracy. She sunk 36 from 40 for a 90 per cent success rate, Silver Ferns shooter Bailey Mes adding an encouraging 12 from 16 in the last three quarters.
The Tactix’s inconsistency in the final 10 minutes proved costly.
After scoring five on end to steal a 46-45 lead, they allowed the Mystics back into the game with a series of turnovers and the Mystics proved clinical in converting the chances into goals to wrap up the win.