An opening round double-header has proven doubly fruitful for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, who have sprung out to an early lead in the ANZ Premiership with back-to-back wins.
The Magic followed up their 23-goal thrashing of the Tactix in Sunday's opener with a comprehensive 67-47 win over the Northern Stars in Hamilton tonight.
With the Magic and Stars the only sides with two games in the opening round, tonight's 20-goal win gives the Waikato side a nice early jump on their rivals.
Given the number of new faces in the Magic line-up this season, the team's dominant start is impressive. Magic coach Margaret Forsyth has done a good job of getting the new combinations singing, and instilling confidence in young players like shooter Monica Falkner and midcourter Ariana Cable-Dixon, who are new to this level.
The Stars fortunes are not so bright. The competition's newest franchise have suffered two heavy defeats in their first two outings and while they have shown patches of promise, they still look a long way off their best.
The tight turnaround between matches was a big test of both sides' fitness and preparation, but it was particularly tough ask on the Stars, who are battling a few injuries in the camp and had to overcome the disappointment of their 75-57 loss to the Southern Steel last night.
Stars coach Julie Hoornweg is having to manage to workloads of several players early on in the season with Malia Vaka (nee Paseka) and Kayla Cullen on restricted game time. Young midcourter Fa'amu Ioane has not even been able to suit up for a match yet as she battles an injury niggle.
Needing to accommodate the workloads of various players, Hoornweg was forced to chop and change her line-up throughout the match, which did not help the Stars' struggles to settle into their rhythm.
The South Auckland-based side looked particularly disjointed on attack, with the switch-up in the shooting end between Vaka and Fijian import Afa Rusivakula proving disruptive on the players around them.
The Magic defensive pairing of Casey Kopua and Kelly Jury can also take some credit for the disruptions. The timing and anticipation of Kopua combined with the long reach of Jury caused problems for the Stars shooters all evening.
Just as in their opening encounter against the Steel, the Stars were able to keep the score close early on, but fell away as the match wore on. A 19-10 second quarter slump proved especially costly for the Stars, who struggled to find a way to stifle the slick Magic attack once they got going.
South African import Lenize Potgieter had another strong night under the net, shooting 50 from 52 for a 96 per cent return.