Injury returnee stars for Varsity

Varsity needed a spark, and a piece that has been missing provided it.

Tyler Mitchell poured in 18 points to help the students stay unbeaten with a 69-45 win over the Andy Bay Falcons Tahi.

It leaves Varsity as the only unbeaten team three weeks into the Dunedin women’s club season.

Mitchell’s opportunities have been limited in Dunedin — the second-year guard sitting out the majority of last season with a knee injury.

However, she was finally able to show her two-way ability on Tuesday night, helping overturn an early deficit.

The Falcons, who were led by an efficient 11 points from Brittney Young, jumped out to a 13-4 lead after back-to-back three-pointers from young forward Elise Carline (10 points).

They held that to 21-15 at the end of the first quarter and, while Varsity edged in front midway through the second on two quick baskets from Mitchell, the Falcons took a 29-28 lead to halftime.

A third-quarter run, in which Varsity began getting stops and got scoring contributions across the board, opened a double-digit lead.

From there, the students pulled away to emerge comfortable winners.

Alongside Mitchell’s 18, Abby Harris had a strong outing with 12 points, while Tayla-Kei Rahui-Laulau had 11.

The Falcons Rua had a similarly strong start against the South Pac Magic, although were also unable to hold off their opponents, losing 49-35.

They held the Magic to just four points in the first quarter, before a 15-2 run in the second quarter gave the Magic a 23-11 buffer at halftime.

Sereana Rokotakala had 14 points for the Magic, while Erica Blundell led the Falcons with nine.

In the other game, Ajax claimed a second win in as many games — having defaulted its opener due to Covid — with a 93-25 thrashing of Varsity Gold.

Hannah Matehaere had 27 points, while Hannah Beede added 20.



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