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Kia Magic (50) defeated Northern Mystics (36): Match Report

10 March 2014

Kia Magic (50) defeated Northern Mystics (36): Match Report

Captain Casey Kopua led by stellar example in the Kia Magic’s convincing 50-36 victory over the Northern Mystics in Auckland tonight.

High or low, Kopua was on song, unsettling the Mystics’ shooters and setting up play superbly for her own attack. Coach Julie Fitzgerald would have to be impressed with the way her new-look side have come together and won their first two ANZ Championship games.

Both sides were jittery in the opening minutes, and little separated them on the scoreboard.

Spot-on timing by Kopua and Leana de Bruin disrupted the rhythm of the Mystics’ attack – one thing Mystics coach Deb Fuller had asked her team to improve on this week.

The Magic took control by making plenty of useful space for themselves, and led at the first break, 13-7.

Magic wing defence Bessie Manu and centre Courtney Tairi badgered the Mystics’ midcourt, and down 19-11, the Mystics turned to the bench and brought on young attacker Nadia Loveday, who incidentally made her ANZ Championship debut last season with the Magic.

Loveday entered the game confidently, and that was mirrored by an enhanced Mystics’ drive down-court. But still they fell short in shooting accuracy, and trailed 23-16 at halftime.

Halpenny and Harten, sharing the workload, added eight goals to the Mystics’ one straight after the break. It was that torrent of goals that forced the home side to make major changes to their line-up – Bailey Mes at goal shoot and debutant goal keep Temalisi Fakahokotau.

And the alterations immediately paid off. Fakahokotau took a sterling intercept with her first touch of the ball and was urgent on defence; back from knee surgery, Mes scored six consecutive goals to give the Mystics a much-needed injection of hope, closing the deficit to eight, 34-26, going into the final spell.

But hesitancy cost the Mystics’ attack early in the quarter, while the Magic stayed focused and poised. English sharpshooter Harten could barely be faulted under the hoop, shooting 30 from 31, while Halpenny gave a gritty performance drawing the Mystics’ defence away from her partner.

Magic shooting statistics:
Jo Harten: 30/31 (97%)
Ellen Halpenny: 20/27 (74%)

Mystics shooting statistics:
Cathrine Latu: 8/11 (73%)
Maria Tutaia: 13/22 (59%)
Bailey Mes: 15/24 (63%)

Match MVP: Jo Harten (Kia Magic)


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