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Aliyah Dunn has done it again.
The Pulse shooter had another tremendous outing against the Steel, netting 30 goals from 32 attempts to help her side ease to a 49-34 win in Invercargill on Saturday.
The competition’s most accurate shooter has missed just four shots in three matches against the Steel this season.
The 20-year-old, who hails from the deep south, had a more than able ally in goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio, who landed an equally impressive
19 from 20.
The win secured the Pulse a berth in the final.
The defending champion was just too good. But even if the visiting side had not shot quite as well, the Steel did not play well enough to press its opponent.
The Pulse eased to an early 6-1 lead. The Wellington-based team was chasing its first win after five ANZ Premiership losses in Invercargill and was in no mood to let the Steel back into the quarter.
Veteran defender Katrina Rore was playing her 200th combined national league match since making her debut for the Canterbury Flames in 2005.
Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie was notching a milestone as well. She was coaching the Pulse for the 100th time.
The 16-7 advantage it had built by the first break set up the win and enhanced its reputation as the title favourite.
The Steel managed to put up only nine shots in the quarter and made a change for the start of the second period.
Kendall Corkery replaced Kate Heffernan at wing defence and the Steel made a run midway through the period.
It took patience and precision to chip away at the deficit — the Pulse defence was unrelenting. But the shots were not dropping and, frustratingly, the margin began to grow again.
Trailing 26-16, the Steel made another change. Defender Abby Erwood came on for her 50th game for the Steel and replaced Taneisha Fifita, who had given up too many penalties.
But it was at the other end where the connections were not working.
Coach Reinga Bloxham benched shooter Kalifa McCollin late in the period as the lead drifted towards 15 goals.
The usually rowdy crowd fell silent.
The final quarter was perfunctory. The Pulse had basically already secured that maiden win in Invercargill.