Although they are the only team to have made the ANZ Championship playoffs every year, the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic suffered their earliest exit from the competition when they bowed out in the minor semifinal last Sunday. Aaron Goile rates the players' performances across a campaign which ended in disappointing fashion.
Irene van Dyk: 7
It's hard to baulk at a 95.5 per cent shooting accuracy, but the 41-year-old was clearly below her best. Still, van Dyk below her best is better than some others at their peak.
But too often the veteran was unable to overcome barriers and change her game to lead her side to wins. Came out of the circle when her holding game would have served her better.
Made headlines for the "got away with murder" call on the Fever defenders and for her benching against the Thunderbirds.
Ellen Halpenny: 7
Proved to be a more than able replacement for Julianna Naoupu. Round-the-court play left a bit to be desired, but grew into a dependable range shooter, netting at over 80 per cent.
Also did well to take on a bigger shooting load when van Dyk was crammed. A finals game will help her experience going forward.
Khao Watts: 5.5
Was always going to be a tricky time for the import as she aimed to beat the second-year syndrome.
Having been plucked from obscurity for 2012, the South Australian's surprise factor was limited this time round.
The wing attack's play was ragged at times, crisper at others, but the general inconsistency of her feeds hindered the side.
Laura Langman: 7.5
The feisty little leader was kept in check by the top sides this season, and would have been a tad below her own high standards.
But with her speed, vision and accuracy, the centre was still an inspiration to the side and provided crucial midcourt nous, which without, would have sent the Magic tumbling.
Jodi Tod-Elliott: 7
Came back after a season off and while she wasn't turned to in the first half of the campaign, ended up being the preferred wing defence, putting out some excellent performances.
Her in-circle defence experience seemed to help her midcourt reads. While not one of the big four, her expected retirement will be a decent blow.
Casey Kopua: 6.5
Never really saw the best of her. To go through the entire campaign injury-free was a big bonus, but the Silver Ferns skipper was largely kept quiet.
Outside the top five on the intercept count, not having quite the same impact as normal, and in the top five most penalised players, with her frustration very evident every time the whistle blew.
Leana de Bruin: 8
The standout performer. Despite being well down on the list of rebounds, was consistently good, and no goal shoot was ever made to feel comfortable.
Was also able to step up and nab ball at the most crucial moments, near the end of tight games.
Elias Shadrock: 3.5
Underwhelming effort on the back of a stellar campaign in 2012.
Went through the first half of the season as the team's No 1 wing defence before being overlooked for Tod-Elliott.
Jessica Tuki: 3
Rotated with Watts at wing attack in the first two games, before fracturing a bone in the elbow, sidelining her for five weeks.
Looked shaky in her comeback then fell behind Watts in the pecking order.
Jessie Waitapu: 4.5
Decent. Second season and did what she could with her chances to impress at goal attack behind Halpenny, who was always going to be the preferred option.
Debut season, got on court in two games and looked pretty adept at wing attack but wasn't sighted thereafter.
Third season at the franchise, got stints of three minutes and 15 minutes at goal keep while de Bruin was off court. Tough being stuck behind the superstar defenders.
Debut season, featured for one quarter at wing defence and didn't have time to look too good or too out of place.
Debut season, but the shooter was surplus to requirements and didn't step on court.
- Waikato Times
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