Shooting percentage lets down Steel

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have kept their playoff hopes alive.

They came from behind to beat the Southern Steel 48-41 at Globox Arena in Hamilton on Monday night.

But it was another game in which the Steel led at halftime and just fell by the wayside in the second half to let their opposition take over.

For the Steel, their shooting percentage was just not good enough, sitting at 67% and missing 20 goals to the Magic’s five.

The Magic, who sit in fourth and face the third-placed Mystics next Monday to try to jump into the topthree, had almost the opposite problem.

Their shooters were sublime, finishing on 92%, but it was the volume of ball into them that was lacking.

But defensively the Magic stepped up in the second half and took the game from the Steel.

The Steel started well with a 3-0 unanswered run.

When the visiting side used their ball speed to move the Magic defenders and create an opening, they made it looked easy.

But when they became stagnant, and let the long arms of Erena Mikaere disrupt, it was tough.

Mikaere pounced on anything aerial and helped her side trail 10-9 at the first quarter.

Jeante Strydom got the nod at goal keep for the Steel in the absence of Taneisha Fifita and Abby Lawson filled out the front.

They sat in a box structure with Kate Heffernan and Renee Savai’inaea out the front and forced the Magic attackers wide.

It made it hard for the Magic to find the circle edge, and with them all running across court, the Steel forced turnovers.

The Steel picked up enough ball on defence, but they really struggled to put it through the hoop when it counted.

It kept the Magic in the game and they even took the lead several times throughout the quarter.

But the Steel finished strongly when Savai’inaea took a screaming intercept in the pocket and helped her side lead 22-20 at halftime.

The home side started to click in the third quarter and jumped out to a two-goal lead.

Led by captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio, they found more depth on attack, and while the Steel kept the Magic midcourters off the circle edge, they put in some lovely long feeds to lead by four.

The Magic forged ahead in the final quarter.

Ivana Rowland held better space under the hoop and showed her versatility on the move.

The Steel have a short turnaround to play competition leaders the Mainland Tactix in Invercargill on Saturday.