Jamie-Lee Price has given herself the green light for next Monday night's clash against the Queensland Firebirds in Hamilton.
After an ankle injury caused her to leave the court against the New South Wales Swifts in Sydney last Sunday, the 18-year-old has been resting up at her family home in Auckland and getting physio treatment, but feels she's set for the Queen's Birthday last-round clash at Claudelands Arena.
Price strained her right ankle early in the third quarter of the 55-43 loss, before making way for Bessie Manu a few minutes later.
"I've done it a few times," Price said of the ailment. "Normally I can run it off, and I tried to, but it was a bit painful.
"It's been a lot better than that night, so I think I'll be all right to play.
"I've been able to walk and stuff, it's not too major, it's just trying to get it right and resting it."
Price and Manu have had a running battle for the wing defence bib all season, with neither having the spot nailed down as their own. Price didn't see it as a battle as such, but said each of them had been learning off one another and becoming better players because of it.
"I'm definitely happy with the amount of court time I've got, because it's something that I didn't think that I would get," said Price, who played just one quarter in her debut season last year.
After three days off, with several of the players taking time to stay on in Sydney, the Magic re-group for training today and have another session on Saturday as they look to bounce back from what was their biggest defeat of the season.
"We're not happy with the way we performed but we're happy that we kept fighting and didn't give up," said Price, who reckoned she got worked over by impressive Swifts wing attack Sarah Wall.
"I've got a lot of work to do. I think I got pushed around a bit and also let her do what she wanted to do instead of restricting her from doing what she wanted to do. I felt she's a lot more experienced than me and she knows what she could get away with and what to do and what not to do compared to me."
While Price wants to stamp her mark physically, she has been whistled for plenty of penalties in her attempts to stop the wing attacks driving onto the circle edge. However, the eager teen isn't too worried about that.
"I guess I just need to get the job done and if it means to get that many penalties [then so be it]. I don't purposely get penalties for the sake of getting it. I'm trying to restrict them, do my job, and sometimes the umpires think I'm a bit too physical."
With three losses in the past four weeks, the Magic now can't afford much more to go wrong if they are to push on and make it a really impressive season.
The Firebirds' game will not be cut-throat because the top four's already decided, but it's shaping up that the winner will earn hosting rights for a re-match the following week in the 3 v 4 minor semifinal.
"It's obviously a bit disappointing coming off a few losses in probably the more important rounds, coming up to the end," Price said. "But I guess we just have to learn from it and just train harder and play harder.
"We obviously want a home semi. We don't want to be travelling away from home and not have the support that we could have if we win. For us, losing isn't an option."
- Waikato Times
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