Magic top table with thumping of Thunderbirds
Van Dyk blows them awayAARON GOILE
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have hit the top of the table in the trans-Tasman netball league after thumping the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Mt Maunganui today.
Going into the match the Thunderbirds held top spot but they were definitely knocked off their perch by a spirited Magic outfit, who stormed to a 59-42 victory at TECT Arena.
That is the Magic's eighth win in a row after their four losses to open their ANZ Championship season, and equals their record winning streak.
They are at the top of the table for the time being on goal percentage, though they are sure to be overtaken before the round is out.
The result has nearly assured the Magic of a playoffs berth, with a home game against the Queensland Firebirds to come, which may need to be won by the Magic, depending on other results.
The large victory was built on some superb midcourt and defensive pressure from the Magic, as they took 1.93m goal shoot Carla Borrego out of the game.
The Jamaican was still accurate with her shooting (27/29) but wasn't given the amount of ball the Magic got down their shooting end, where now 40-year-old Irene van Dyk nailed 41 from 42 and Julianna Naoupu 18 from 23.
Thunderbirds goal keep Sharni Layton also impressed on paper, with six deflections and two intercepts, but her efforts were unrewarded at the end of the day, with the Magic too clinical in their ball movement.
The home side took a handy 15-11 lead to quarter time after turning round an early three-goal deficit.
The hosts had struggled to convert their early chances, but with just under three minutes left in the first quarter they hit the lead for the first time thanks to a Casey Williams intercept.
They then surged further ahead and didn't miss a shot in the first period.
The visitors pulled two goals back early in the second quarter, before two bits of class from Leana de Bruin had the Magic seize the initiative again.
An intercept and then a tip from her to Williams got the hosts out to 21-15, before the Thunderbirds called a timeout to try and counter their impetus.
But about halfway through the quarter Williams took a fall to the ground after muscling up against Borrego.
The Silver Ferns captain got back to her feet but wasn't 100 per cent.
After her team had extended their advantage to nine goals, she called time about three minutes before halftime, getting treatment to her foot.
It wasn't an issue with her right ankle which she has been nursing through the campaign, but rather a metatarsal in her left foot after it got stood on and she managed to stay on the court for the rest of the match.
The Magic's first missed shot of the game came with about one and a half minutes left before the break and the visitors managed to reduce the margin before the break, going in down 27-21.
The home team began the third quarter in great style, bounding out to 32-22, and then Thunderbirds centre Natalie von Bertouch was forced to call time for treatment to an injured finger.
That break in play didn't assist the visitors at all, as the Magic powered to a seven-goal run and effectively ended the contest with the score at 39-25.
Their pressure on the Thunderbirds was all encompassing and the visitors had no way out.
The Magic went on to win the third quarter by a massive 18-7, going into the final stanza up 45-28.
Von Bertouch was left on the sidelines in the final period to nurse her finger, with wing defence Renae Hallinan moving to centre and Madeleine Proud being introduced.
Goal defence Rebeeca Bulley and goal keep Sharni Layton swapped places in the defensive circle also.
The last quarter ended 14 apiece but the damage was already done in a massive way.
Magic 59 (15-12-18-14)
Thunderbirds 42 (11-10-7-14)
- Fairfax Media