Back-to-back wins for Magic
WBOP Magic were forced to repel a customary Silvermoon Tactix fightback before prevailing 55-48 and posting their second win of the season in Christchurch on Wednesday.
The Magic’s greater accuracy proved the difference, the pinpoint shooting of Lenize Potgieter, who converted 42 from 45, and the influential presence of captain Casey Kopua, guiding the visitors to back-to-back wins.
It was a similar tale to recent Tactix matches, the home team having plenty of opportunities and enjoying more shots on goal during the match but struggling with their conversion rates.
With the game seemingly well in hand for the Magic, the visitors were forced to dig deep in the last quarter. Defensive heroics from Temalisi Fakahokotau and Jane Watson threatened a boilover before the Magic’s control and superior finishing ended the home team’s hopes.
Restoring Kimiora Poi to the centre’s role and Brooke Leaver to goal attack, the Tactix opted for a mobile attacking line while long-limbed goalkeeper Kate Lloyd got her opportunity for Magic in the place of the injured Kelly Jury.
With both teams having a history of slow starts, it was the visitors who started with a hiss and a roar.
With the inspirational Kopua leading the charge, backing up the Magic’s slick through-court, and the polish of Potgieter, who looked to be back to her best with a perfect 12 from 12 in the first quarter, the Magic got away to a flyer.
Shooting percentages, which would become an increasingly significant feature, let the Tactix down as the home team battled to slow the Magic’s second phase play while struggling with their own, the visitors finishing an impressive opening with a 16-10 lead.
The competition’s tallest player Ellie Bird was quickly ushered in on the resumption, the 1.96m shooter having an impact with her close proximity to the hoop and rebounding ability.
The Tactix made a string of turnovers to open their response and found themselves trailing by eight after Magic centre Samantha Sinclair took control of the midcourt traffic.
Known for their fighting spirit, a late surge from the home pulled the margin back to five when the Magic went into the main break with a 31-26 lead.
Both teams had mini surges during a spirited third term but it was the Magic who eventually stamped their mark. Kopua and Lloyd proved a menacing duo in the Tactix shooting circle while at the other end, Magic’s shooters were strong influences with their accurate finishing.
Left in chase mode, the fleet-footed Poi was in the thick of everything for the Tactix, picking up a number of intercepts and deflections as she tried to lift her team-mates.
Holding their poise, it was Magic who took a firm grip when leading 45-38 at the last turn.