Re: » Off Topic - Mona fans chat thread » Love you Marco ♥ Forever BVB ♥
Damn, Magic lost by 3 goals. They played awfully. In particular, the feeders Langman, Khao Watts, Halpenny were very hesitant and timid with passes into Irene Van Dyk, even when she had space marked or was free, and that cost them. Ultimately, in a situation like that, you think you are being safer by being patient and passing somewhere else instead of going straight for the shooting circle but it actually is less safe. Passing into the circle to let Irene contest for the high ball feels dodgy when you let it go, but it's actually the safest bet and it's also demoralising for the defenders when you get that direct flow to the shooters. The end result was that the Magic shot at a higher percentage than the Firebirds but didn't get enough shots at goal.
The Magic have a really high peak level- probably the highest of any team in the competition, but they made the same mistakes they made earlier in the season. The biggest one is when their feeders- Watts, Langman, Halpenny- lose confidence in the pass to Irene under the hoop. Irene's free for a second, you have to pass it that instant because if you hesitate the defender closes the gap. You have to commit to any pass you make. It's like going for a first serve or a smash. You have to commit. Admittedly the Aussie teams do a good job of "confusing the space" but once you get a few good passes in and Irene wins the ball then the confusion disappears for the feeders, they learn to see the space again.
I guess it's a product of being a team full of Silver Ferns with just a few weak links. If they manage to cover those weak links they are practically like the national team and therefore unstoppable at league level. But those links can break down. The one I always struggle to fathom is why Langman, who is vice-captain of the Ferns and has played with Irene for many years, is still vulnerable to losing faith in Irene's ability to beat a defender in the air. It's either that or she sometimes doesn't see when Irene is free, or she loses faith in the accuracy of her pass over distance. I saw a lot of times Irene was available in the back but Laura only looked down at the front for the pass to Halpenny, which clearly feels "safe" but results in Halpenny taking a longer lower percentage shot. They were too scared of Geitz.
When you get the ball you look to Irene first and see if she's available. Anytime Irene is one on one with a defender, even if it's Geitz who is good, you let it go reasonably accurately and she'll win the ball. At this level you have to establish that connection with Irene or you won't beat those tough Aussie teams. Even if you might lose a ball or two early in the game, once the link is established your centre pass will become strong and the momentum will start to go your way.
When the Ferns come together that weak link disappears, Maria Tutaia helps the pass come into Irene a lot, plus she's a great distance shooter which complements Irene's domination of the post.
Combined with Marina losing to Robson after being 6-1 5-3 up and the last couple of days haven't been very good for the kiwis.