Magic notch seventh straight win
Mon, 18 Jun 2012 2:31a.m.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic kept their trans-Tasman netball league playoff hopes alive with a hard-fought 48-46 win over Northern Mystics in Auckland on Sunday.
The win moves them into fourth spot on the ladder, ahead of NSW Swifts on goal percentage, inflicting on the Mystics just their third loss of the season.
A focused Magic team hit the court determined to reverse their six-goal second round loss to the Mystics, although they conceded a couple of quick turnovers to gift the home team an early lead.
Silver Ferns Cathrine Latu and Maria Tutaia's combination started on song, Latu's circle movement and Tutaia's seemingly infallible long shot withstanding the best Magic defenders Casey Williams and Leana de Bruin could throw at them.
But the visitors showed real patience in working the ball around, their timing on the last crucial feed into the circle spot on.
The Magic's midcourt defensive hard work paid dividends as the quarter drew to a close: they pushed the Mystics wide, set up the intercept and converted the turnovers to lead 15-11 after 15 minutes.
The Julianna Naoupu-Irene van Dyk combination continued to churn out the goals in the second spell, but Tutaia went inexplicably off the boil and only managed three from nine as the Magic took a 27-22 lead into halftime.
They maintained momentum in the third spell, spearheaded by an outstanding performance from circle defenders Casey Williams and Leana de Bruin, and out-rebounding the Mystics at both ends of the court.
Ahead 41-35 at the three-quarter mark, the Magic began the final spell well to extend their lead to eight before the Mystics staged a stunning comeback.
Temepara George, shifted from the wing to centre, upped the pressure on Magic playmaker Laura Langman while Grace Rasmussen added extra drive as the Mystics went on a six-goal spree to close the gap to just two.
But the Magic weren't to be denied their seventh consecutive win, playing with an increasing belief as they approach their last two must-win matches of the season against the Thunderbirds and the Firebirds.
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