The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic dedicated last night's thrilling overtime win over the Northern Mystics in the ANZ Championship preliminary final to the mother of star shooter Irene van Dyk.
Van Dyk received news early yesterday that her mother, also Irene, had passed away in her hometown of Meyerton, South Africa, following a long battle with cancer.
"While it was devastating for me to hear the news, I was comforted to know Mum passed away peacefully in her sleep and that my sister Janita and brother Harry were with her,'' van Dyk said.
"I knew Mum would have wanted me to carry on with last night's game. She has always been a huge supporter of my netball and I wanted to win last night's game for her.''
Teammates rallied around van Dyk, who slotted the crucial goal in last night's hard-fought match to level the game 44-44 and force the match into extra time. The Magic won 57-48, setting up an exciting final against the Vixens in Melbourne this Sunday, when van Dyk will once again take the court before flying out to South Africa on Monday morning.
"I have to see this through and the family back home are also very supportive,'' said van Dyk, who 35 of her 40 attempts in the match.
Her mother will be buried in her hometown of Meyerton at the end of next week.
Waikato Bay of Plenty chief executive Sheryl Dawson paid tribute to the composure shown by the 40-year-old goal shoot in last night's game.
"Irene, as always, was a consummate professional who put her team before all else despite her immense sadness having lost her Mum,'' Dawson said.
"We are so fortunate to be blessed with such a strong and amazing player and we will be doing everything we can to support Irene in the coming days.''