Scratchy start from the Magic

BEN STRANG
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2014

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The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have plenty to work on before the trans-Tasman league season gets under way, but plenty to be excited about as well.

In two six-period pre-season matches against the Central Pulse in New Plymouth over the weekend, the Magic were well beaten in both.

On Saturday, the Pulse led by two with five periods played, and extended that lead to 10 for the 89-79 victory.

The Pulse proved too good again yesterday, winning 90-73.

Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald said she was disappointed with how much ball her team threw away, but said there were also glimpses of brilliance.

"I was particularly disappointed with how much possession we gave them during the games, particularly today," Fitzgerald said after her team's second loss.

"It is very early though, so perhaps I'm being a little tough on them.

"What I would say is there were a lot of positives. When you look at the positives, it's something to get excited about for the season.

"As far as those negatives, those are things we now go back and work on and improve for the season."

Fitzgerald said her group of international players was back in the squad for the first time, and brought their experience and skill to the team.

That flowed on to help younger players in the side, many of whom were having their first crack at top-level competition.

One of those who impressed was shooter Brooke Leaver, who left behind a scratchy performance on Saturday to perform well yesterday.

"There were two or three of the young girls who really impressed. Brooke was the pick of those," she said.

"She was bashed up a bit on Saturday, but she came back with a bang on Sunday. She showed a lot of character and shot well, and that was really impressive."

The Magic have two weeks on the training court now before heading to Melbourne for the Summer Shootout tournament on February 15-16.

That gives the squad plenty of time to work on those possession issues, and other aspects of the game that need polishing.

Hopefully, captain and star player Casey Kopua will be fit and ready for that tournament, having sat out the weekend's games.

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- Waikato Times

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