The Mandurah Magic women swept the Rockingham Flames and booked their place in the second round of the playoffs with a heart-stopping overtime win at the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Friday night.
The Flames hit three consecutive free throws with only half a second left on the clock to send the game into extra time but Casey Mihovilovich continued to write her script as one of the league’s greatest ever players with some amazing plays leading the Magic to a 71-63 victory.
But the game wasn’t always neck and neck, with Mandurah dominating the first quarter and opening the game on a blinding 20-1 run.
By the end of the first they led by 15 and the match threatened to turn into another blowout similar to the Magic’s win in game one, but the home side’s offence lost its way in the second and third quarters as Rockingham fired up.
A stunning turnaround shocked the Magic’s crowd as the Flames fought back to take a one-point lead heading into an eventful final quarter.
Thankfully for that home crowd Mandurah found its rhythm again late, with Anita Brown, Regina Palusna and Mihovilovich all making huge plays on offence going toe-to-toe with Rockingham’s D’Lesha Lloyd.
A pair of free throws from Brown gave Mandurah a three-point lead with 20 seconds on the clock, but the Flames’ Amanda Pether – who hadn’t scored a point on the night – was ice cold hitting three crucial free throws to send the game to overtime.
Rockingham threatened to overrun the Magic when they notched the first bucket in the extra period, but Palusna scored back-to-back baskets to restore the home side’s lead and ignite the crowd.
From there Mandurah assumed control, with young gun Jemma Gatti putting in some solid plays that helped secure the series-clinching win.
Brown finished the night with an outstanding 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists while Palusna went for 20 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Mihovilovich contributed 16 points and four assists, while Emma Klasztorny’s hot form continued with nine points, 13 rebounds.
Gatti’s production off the bench was a boost for the Magic, as she ended the night with four points, six rebounds, two assists and a crucial steal.
The victory moves Mandurah on to the second round of the playoffs, which kick off next weekend.