The 2015 season came to an end for the SKYCITY Mystics in mid-June, when they lost their ANZ Championship semi-final against the Queensland Firebirds. The Firebirds continued an unbeaten run this season that stretched back to round one of the competition.

The SKYCITY Mystics had to play the Firebirds in Australia, after going down 57-54 to the WBOP Magic in the New Zealand Conference Final the week before.

There were naturally some long faces in the SKYCITY Mystics dressing room after the match in Brisbane, but eventually there was space for reflection. And the season contained a number of positives to help ease the pain.

For starters, the SKYCITY Mystics had gone unbeaten against Kiwi opponents throughout the regular season for the first time in their history. And their final placing over the last three seasons had moved from tenth, to seventh last year, to the top four.

Serena Guthrie had been a wonderful addition to the midcourt. The England international, who was the SKYCITY Mystics’ import player, was officially recognised as the ‘Best new talent’ in the ANZ Championship and was named at WD in the All-Star team too. Twice she picked up the Golden Bib, as the league’s player of the round.

Then there were major contributions from senior players like Maria Tutaia, Laura Langman and Cathrine Latu, while the young defensive end showed real fight in dealing with some substantially taller opponents.

The attention for many of the players now turns to national selection ahead of August’s World Cup in Sydney.

Eight of the SKYCITY Mystics squad (Kayla Cullen, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Laura Langman, Cathrine Latu, Camilla Lees, Nadia Loveday, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick and Maria Tutaia) have been named among 30 players to trial for the Silver Ferns and New Zealand A teams, while Guthrie is a certainty to be in Sydney with the England side.