Magic ready to extend winning run
Sat, 21 Jul 2012 8:37p.m.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have grown accustomed to resurrecting their trans-Tasman netball league season with weekly regularity over the past three months, and the games that matter on a last-second basis.
Stone-cold last without a win after four weeks, the Magic built a close-knit unit to ein every game since the end of April.
But while coach Noeline Taurua has every confidence in extending their 11-matching winning streak for one more game, she expects tomorrow's grand final against the Vixens in Melbourne to stretch her team right to the limit.
"You've got to give utter respect to the Vixens," she said today.
"First thing, they're placed No.1 and they got there for a reason. And even though we've got ourselves out from the last two rounds with tight, close matches, they've done that over the season with three or four games."
Taurua says the Magic's extra time preliminary final win over Northern Mystics last week, after levelling the game in the last three seconds of regulation time, showcased the team's inner strength and belief.
But she says the Vixens have displayed similar resolve throughout the season.
"They've been able claw themselves back and win, which means they've got the ability to execute under pressure at the attacking end and put pressure on the opposition in defence.
"It takes a strong team unit and high belief in each other to be able to be able to come out with wins in those situations."
Taurua has been able to run the same starting seven over the last three months. Silver Ferns combinations star at both ends of the court - Irene van Dyk and Julianna Naoupu in the shooting circle, Casey Williams and Leana de Bruin on defence.
New Zealand centre Laura Langman drives the midcourt from centre, but it's the step up from wing defence Elias Shadrock and Australian wing attack Khao Watts that has lifted the Magic right to the brink of their first ANZ Championship win.
Taurua has no doubt her team can take that last vital step.
"My focus is on winning the game, and I have utter belief in that happening for us."
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