The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have won the New Zealand Conference crown in the ANZ netball championship following a 57-54 win over top qualifiers the Northern Mystics in Auckland.
The win gives the Magic home-court advantage in their semifinal against the New South Wales Swifts this weekend, while the Mystics will travel to Brisbane to take on the Australian Conference champions the Queensland Firebirds in the other semi.
Little separated the two top New Zealand sides for most of the intense showdown, until the Magic lifted their game to another level in the final quarter, driven by a full 60-minute performance from their comeback captain Casey Kopua.
It was goal-for-goal in the frantic opening minutes, until a couple of basic errors from the Mystics' midcourt allowed the Magic to make a three-goal leap ahead.
Jo Harten continued her good form, controlling the Magic shooting circle despite some outstanding work from Mystic's goal keep Temalisi Fakahokotau.
It was 28-all at half time.
Both sides stuck to their original line-up for the third quarter and it was the Mystics who resumed control and led by 2 at three quarter time.
It was 50-all with 5 minutes to play before the Magic lifted their intensity - their bench on their feet applauding and stole a four-goal march.
The Magic beat the Southern Steel on Saturday for the right to play the Mystics.
Mystics shooting statistics:
Cathrine Latu 26/27 (96%)
Maria Tutaia 28/32 (88%)
Magic shooting statistics:
Jo Harten 35/38 (92%)
Malia Paseka 22/26 (85%)
MVP: Malia Paseka (Magic)