Magic make light work of Stars
The WBOP Magic have continued their steamrolling start to the ANZ Premiership season, seeing off the Northern Stars, 67-47, in the final game of Round 1 in Hamilton.
After a 23-goal victory over the Tactix on the opening day, the Magic rewarded their faithful home fans with another comprehensive victory, this time anchored by a nine-goal surge in the second quarter.
Although both sides can claim to have new line-ups, the Magic’s connections through court seem already well established, while the Stars are having to carefully manage their camp.
Neither team made a start to be proud of, though, with both guilty of unnecessary nervous errors. When the Magic found their shooters, Lenize Potgieter continued her deadly accuracy from the day before, supported by impressive young rookie Monica Falkner, who didn’t flinch with the big shots.
The Stars had to work harder and show more persistence getting the ball into their circle, and with the introduction of Fijian import Afa Rusivakula with five minutes to go in the opening quarter, the Stars closed the gap from four to one. A final frenzied burst by the Magic put them 17-14 up at the first break.
Then the Magic tightened the screws on defence, snaffling up any wobbly passes by the Stars. Sam Sinclair at wing defence was in startling form, disrupting and stealing ball cleanly from the Star’s grasp, and the long reach of Kelly Jury and Casey Kopua made sure there was very little room for the Stars shooters to move.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Magic had built a 10-goal lead. The Stars rustled up some improvement in the lead-up to halftime, through sharper vision from centre Emma Iversen and defenders Leana de Bruin and Sulu Fitzpatrick.But still the Magic ruled, 36-24, going into the third spell.
In an attempt to step up their defence and slow the Magic flow, the Stars moved Kayla Cullen – still on the comeback from surgery - into goal defence. But it was a tough ask to trap the wily Falkner, who was superbly fed by Grace Rasmussen and another notable newcomer, Ariana Cable-Dixon.
Both teams used the new substitution rule to full advantage: the Magic making a full midcourt shuffle, and the Stars giving young wing attack Christina Oscar her first taste of elite Netball.
Up 52-35, the Magic did not let off the pace in the last quarter, with Potgieter notching up her 50th goal of the match from a mere 52 attempts.