Magic's Elias Shadrock getting used to spotlight
She was one of the unsung heroes of their championship-winning campaign last year, but Elias Shadrock is now having to come to grips with being more well-known.
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic wing defence is unhappy with what she's dished up on court in recent outings.
Last year she shone, as much as a wing defence can, and began to thrive more the bigger the occasion.
She would do all the small things right, halting the opposition's through-court movement, being a link for the Magic attacking flow and coming up with some big turnovers at crucial times.
But no longer obscure among a team of stars, the 22-year-old, who was in the squad in 2009 and 2010 but struggled for game time, is finding this year more of a battle.
"The last two weeks I know that I've been underperforming, and I haven't been happy with that," Shadrock said, after twice being dragged off the court to be replaced by Jodi Tod-Elliott.
"So for me it's making sure my body and my mind are in the right places for me to do what I need to do out there on court.
"I just think I've varied away from my own game and [am] just over-thinking things too much. So, for me it's just going back to basics, going back to getting ball, going back to hunting and all the things I know I'm good at.
"I guess last year I wasn't known like the big stars or anyone.
"When you get a bit more name they [opponents] kind of look into a bit more of you."
The pressure looks to be mounting on Shadrock from one of her girlhood idols, Jodi Tod-Elliott, though Shadrock believes that pressure has been there since the start of the season.
"We're all fighting for those starting positions. I think it's good, I think it's healthy to have good competition in the team. For me, it always keeps me on my toes and I think that's a good thing, not being comfortable."
While Shadrock is unsure if she'll start the game from the bench instead, she has built up plenty of credit in the bank of coach Noeline Taurua, that she is likely to still be in the starting seven.
At training this week Taurua and assistant Tanya Dearns put the onus on the players' decision making, questioning their every option when a play broke down, and Shadrock said they needed that critical feedback as it was those lapses which had been contributing to losses lately.
Despite the Magic's precarious position, Shadrock said they will play with a nothing to lose attitude against the Queensland Firebirds on the Gold Coast today and that it was time to walk the walk.
"Obviously going over to Aussie's always harder, but hey, it's another game, it's another opportunity, and we've just got to go out there and play our game and just do our own jobs.
"We've got a lot of experience, great game plan, great coach. For us, I think it's just going out there and doing it. We say a lot, but for us, now's the time we need to go out on court and do it."