Magic goal attack Julianna Naoupu is expecting to face the "Harrison Hoist" on Sunday night, but warns the Northern Mystics pull the move out at their peril.
The manoeuvre, which sees Mystics defender Anna Harrison lifted by her defensive partner to block shots at goal, was brought out a month ago, but has been scarcely sighted since.
And if it is put on court in Auckland in the round 12 ANZ Championship clash of the Kiwi heavyweights, the Waikato-Bay of Plenty side won't be intimidated.
"There's so many ways you can combat it," Naoupu said.
"They're not going to do it every shot, so for us it's a good thing.
"If we do get into that situation where they're jumping, we can just play our game and see how that goes and if it needs changing, change it."
The Magic haven't physically trained to combat the move, but have talked about what's required to do so.
"I think it's just more if it happens you've got options to do it and it's just right off the top of your head whether you want to do it or not," Naoupu said.
The team had thought about lifting themselves, and getting goal shoot Irene van Dyk to slam dunk goals, but Naoupu said it was too hard to implement the move without touching the rim or net.
Not that the Magic need to try anything different to what they have done on their six-match winning run.
But Naoupu, whose shooting at 76.2 per cent this season, said she wants to be able to get herself into a game faster.
"I think I took the Pulse game, not too lightly, but I think I just wasn't all there right from the get go," she said.
And that victory in the last round gave the Magic a sense of being able to up the ante when required.
"We had a switch and we turned on, so we know that if we do get into a little bit of a lull we can lift the intensity whenever we need to," Naoupu said.
That shift in vehemence has been mirrored in training this week, with some short, sharp work pushing the players hard yesterday. "Literally, we were walking off heaving, and we were like `Are we done yet Noels [coach Noeline Taurua], are we done?' We pretty much just left everything out on court," Naoupu said.
That preparation is crucial as the Mystics are going to be physical in a match with plenty riding on it for both teams.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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