De Bruin looking for Magic to embrace pressure
Leana de Bruin believes the Magic's recent run of poor form can kick them into gear to come home strong.
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty side's honeymoon period is well over. After leading the pack, they are now stumbling towards the playoffs, having blown healthy leads in their last three matches and losing the past two.
But the experienced de Bruin has been in this situation before, when games pretty much become must-win. Just think the 2012 campaign when the Magic lost their first four, before going unbeaten after that to take the title.
"Obviously the last few weeks hasn't been ideal, but at the end of the day I think sometimes when you've got your back against the wall it's a good place because you've got no choice of just going out there and doing the job as well as you can," the 36-year-old said.
"Sometimes when you don't have an option, the only way is to look forward."
The classy defender said there had been good discussion within the team about how to fix their problems, heading into their match against the Mainland Tactix in Mt Maunganui on Monday, but verified they haven't been given a barrelling by coach Julie Fitzgerald.
"Everybody's taking individual responsibility, so I don't actually think harsh words is going to fix what we're doing," de Bruin said. "We're all disappointed. It's not as if we go out there and you go ‘Oh let's lose after being 10 up'."
The key was to go back to focusing on moment-by-moment and concentrating on themselves, each person on their own job, as well as finding the hunger that seems to have disappeared.
"You can't plan for that, you've just got to bring it on the day, and all seven players need to do it at the same time."
"When we've been up I think we do kind of relax a little bit and lose that fight, and we see the concentration drop as well, and we just do silly little mistakes like dropping balls or passing silly passes.
"So it's keeping that focus no matter where we are.
"And I suppose we all feel like we're not playing with that same intensity that we started the season off with."
De Bruin acknowledged that with their early high-flying status, other teams had lifted their game against the Magic, and she didn't put the fall in performances down to physical fatigue.
She also revealed that at training this week the Magic have come up with some set plays to give them more discipline. "Hopefully that will work for us. It's not so much changing a whole lot of stuff, because we can't fix those problems all in one day, but I suppose just having a bit more structure when say we've got a timeout or at the start of a quarter.
"We're trying to focus a little bit more and everybody knows what we're doing instead of people just looking at each other and going ‘You go' or ‘I go'."