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The South Pac Magic has issued a reminder of its inside presence.
Without the majority of its guard line-up, it dominated the paint to secure an 81-74 overtime win over Varsity in Dunedin women’s club basketball on Tuesday night.
Its quartet of bigs accounted for 71 of those points, Fay Fualau-Searle and Lisa Wallbutton proving virtually unstoppable with 31 and 26 respectively.
The win was significant for the Magic, having dropped its earlier game to Varsity.
Little separated the teams throughout, although a mini-run in the second quarter gave Varsity a 30-24 buffer midway through.
Its guard duo of Caitlin O’Connell (21 points) and Elly Koehler (14) showed their ability to score inside and out.
However, the Magic bigs responded and pulled back to level at 32-32 at halftime.
The margin remained within three most of the way to the finish and was tied when Tyler Mitchell rebounded her own miss and finished to give Varsity a 69-67 lead down the stretch.
Magic big Natalie Visger (12 points) responded by getting to the line and sinking free throws to tie the scores and take the game to overtime.
A Holly McCleery three-pointer and a pair of O’Connell free throws put Varsity up 74-71 early in overtime.
However, its offence dried up front there and the Magic bigs rallied.
Fualau-Searle remained unstoppable, while Wallbutton iced the game as the Magic finished on a 10-0 run.
The win pulls the Magic back into the category of genuine title contender, having been quiet through the season’s first six weeks.
For Varsity, it was a second consecutive loss, after going unbeaten through the first round.
In the night’s other game, Hannah Beede led Ajax with 15 points in a 87-39 win over the Andy Bay Falcons Rua.
The result extended Ajax’s winning streak to six games.