It hasn’t taken star netballer Caitlin Bassett long to prove her worth to the Magic with the Australian shooter playing a big role in her new team’s ANZ Premiership opening round win over the Mystics.
Bassett finished 36-from-41 in the 64-60 win in Auckland last night, finishing with the highest shooting accuracy – 88 per cent – among the four starting shooters from both teams.
It did take Bassett some time to get going though with Silver Ferns defender Sulu Fitzpatrick giving her little room to work with in the first quarter; so much so she didn’t even take a shot in the opening six minutes of the match.
However, Bassett slowly started to find her spots inside the shooting circle and with it came plenty of space for her new teammates to operate.
One of the biggest benefactors of the extra attention on Bassett was former New Zealand age-group player Chiara Semple, who finished the evening 16-from-22 and took most of the Magic’s early shots.
Semple – who more recently has spent time playing in England’s Superleague and represented her adopted country at the 2017 World Youth Cup – shared time at goal attack with Khiarna Williams who also made the most of Bassett’s presence with a 12-from-14 performance.
At the other end, Silver Ferns shooter Bailey Mes made her long awaited return for the Mystics after a rough spell of injuries and alongside rising star Grace Nweke attempted to keep the Auckland side in the match.
They almost pulled it off but Magic captain Sam Winders – who won match MVP – managed to find her groove alongside Bassett as the game wore on and threaded passes in to the Australian to keep their nose in front, despite the Mystics outscoring them 17-15 in the final quarter.
The result sees the Magic join the Steel and Stars at the top of the leaderboard after the first round with the Pulse and Tactix – last year’s finalists – joining the Mystics at the bottom of the pack with opening game losses.