THE MAGIC IS BACK
Sunday, 17 June 2012
Categories: Netball - ANZ Championship
Magic rides winning streak into top four
By LORISSE DART
THE Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic has knocked the Northern Mystics from the top of the ladder, notched the longest winning streak of the season and emerged as a genuine contender for the ANZ Championship.
The Magic’s 48-46 victory in Auckland was its seventh straight and, with the help of a superior percentage, pushed the New Zealand team in to the top four with just two rounds to play.
The Magic is the in-form team of the league, having not lost since the Melbourne Vixens stole a last-gasp one-goal win at Hisense Arena in round 4.
The Magic lost its opening four games by a combined total of just 11 goals. The biggest defeat was by six goals to the Mystics.
So tight has the competition been it’s taken until the third-last round of the home-and-away season for the perennial finalists to get in to the top four.
Indeed, it was said in round 4 that the “sleeping giant” had awoken when the Magic took the then-undefeated Vixens to the brink of their first loss – and the Kiwi team hasn’t lost since.
The Irene van Dyk-led Magic (right) inflicted just the third loss of the season on the Mystics on Sunday, and has set up a blockbuster clash on its home court with Adelaide Thundebirds in Tauranga on Saturday afternoon.
Goal shooter Van Dyk was again superb, shooting 28 from 30 at 93 per cent, and held steady in the last quarter when her partner Julianna Naoupu (20/30, 66 per cent) went off the boil and the Mystics staged a stunning comeback.
Magic took a 27-22 lead in to halftime, and on the back of circle defenders Casey Williams and Leana de Bruin, held the Mystics at bay (41-35) by three-quarter time.
The visitors stretched the lead to eight goals in the last quarter, until a Temepara George and Grace Rasmussen-inspired revival got the Mystics to within two.
Mystics goal shooter Cathrine Latu missed just one goal (18/19, 94 per cent) for the match, but was restricted to just two shots in the first quarter and three in the fourth. Goal attack Maria Tutaia (28/38, 73 per cent) had a woeful second quarter on goal (3/9), but provided six assists as Latu went 8/9 for the period.
Above: Irene van Dyk. Picture: MICHELLE COULING
Back to the homepage