Magic revel in Hobbiton-inspired win over Mystics
WBOP Magic became the inaugural holders of the Hobbiton Cup after halting the SKYCITY Mystics recent purple patch with a comprehensive 67-52 win in Hamilton tonight.
In their special one-off green alternative strip to mark the Hobbiton-themed match, the Magic posted an important win in their campaign. Captain Casey Kopua proved she’s still one of the best defenders in the game when leading from the front, constantly in the thick of the action and inspiring with her all-round individual play.
Once they found their feet, there was no stopping the Magic who delivered a wholehearted team effort for which the Mystics had no answer.
With five intercepts, Kopua provided the inspiration while ever-reliable shooter Lenize Potgieter, who slotted 50 goals from 53 attempts, provided the difference in lowering the Mystics sails in decisive fashion after the visitors came into the match with back-to-back wins over the top two teams.
In the highly-anticipated match-up, Jamie Hume was given the start at goal attack for the Mystics in otherwise predictable opposing line-ups.
From the outset, there was action aplenty, the teams turning on a free-flowing spectacle where no quarter was given in an entertaining showcase. Old stagers, and opposing captains, Kopua and Anna Harrison, showed they had lost none of their class in leaving their mark on proceedings.
In an indication of the intensity, there was a flurry of turnover ball through the opening spell, each team contesting every play, the Magic settling into their work after a forceful start from the Mystics.
All the impetus was with the Magic after a stunning run of five straight goals handed them an important 18-12 lead at the first break.
The Mystics threatened but failed to nail the opportunities on hand on the resumption. With import shooter Potgieter showing her usual poise, efficiency and high level of accuracy, ably supported by Monica Falkner, the Magic were able to dictate terms.
Led by the drive of fleet-footed wing attack Elisapeta Toeava, the Mystics roared back into contention with a four-goal scoring spree but the Magic were able to repel everything their opponents could muster.
Both teams enjoyed mini surges but greater shooing accuracy and the disrupting play of Kopua and Kate Lloyd helped the Magic maintain their six-goal advantage when leading 32-26 at the main break.
Mystics stalwart Maria Folau made her entrance to the game in the second half, but the third quarter belonged entirely to the home team.
The Magic’s consistency on attack and persistence on defence continued to pay dividends, the visitors becoming increasingly rattled and unable to stem the flow. With her shooters finding plenty of freedom in the circle, Ariana Cable-Dixon supplied a steady stream of quality ball, the home team piling on the pressure while increasing their handy margin.
In a repeat of the first quarter, the home team finished with an unanswered five-goal flourish to be in the box seat when leading 50-37 at the last turn