Win settles Waikato-BOP newbies' nerves
Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic's rookies made their mark in a winning debut in Tauranga yesterday.
Magic newcomers Jess Waitapu and Khao Watts both used their court time in a 40-30 victory over the Southern Steel in the pre-season tournament to convince doubters they were the right selections for the coming ANZ Championship.
Waitapu, one of the key members of last year's successful Waikato NPC team, was strong in the first quarter at goal attack, pushing the ball into the circle.
"I was pretty nervous but it was really good. Everyone was helpful on the court and the main thing was sinking that first shot and I did, so I was all right after that," Waitapu said.
"That's always how it goes, I get my first shot and then I'm sweet for the game."
Australian import Watts, who played wing attack in the second half, said stepping out on the court was nerve-racking but proved a thrill.
"I just tried to think of the task at hand," she said.
"Just to get out on court with all the girls and have a real game, to get out there against a quality side in the ANZ Championship was fantastic."
The Magic led the Steel throughout but conceded a few errors in their triumph. Captain Laura Langman was happy with the win but was looking for her team to perform at their peak before being satisfied.
"It was great to get everyone out there," Langman said.
"It got the cobwebs out but we're certainly looking for a massive step-up.
"Momentum-wise, I think we came up and down so we're really looking to build on sustaining momentum throughout the game and stopping the errors.
"But good first game and great to play a real game finally."