The battle lines have been drawn ahead of this week’s top-of-the-table clash between the JCU Townsville Fire and Dandenong.
With just two rounds of the 2015/16 Wattle Valley WNBL season remaining, the Rangers (15-7) are breathing down the Fire’s (15-6) neck, with the winner of tonight’s clash all but assuring themselves of a top-two spot.
The equation for the Fire is simple: win any two of their remaining three games and they will secure top spot and the right to host the second semi-final at Townsville RSL Stadium on Sunday, February 28.
The Rangers, on the other hand, will be just as desperate, needing two wins from as many games to try and snatch the minor premiership.
“We’ve been working hard at both ends of the floor,” Fire assistant coach Claudia Brassard said.
“In recent weeks, we’ve done a better job defensively and we want that trend to continue.
“On the offensive end, we’re less predictable than we were at the beginning of the season.
“We look to have five or more in double figures and each week a new player is putting their hand up.”
Having met twice already this season, the Fire boast a 2-0 record after defeating the Rangers 83-75 in Dandenong before closing out the series with a 70-61 win at Townsville RSL Stadium before Christmas.
Suzy Batkovic and Cayla Goerge have been pivotal in both wins, with the pair averaging a combined 18.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in the wins.
However, the Rangers may be bolstered tonight with the return of Alex Bunton through injury, while skipper Steph Cumming will need to be shut down after averaging a team-high 16.3 points.
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