The JCU Townsville Fire have slumped to their heaviest defeat since 2012/13 after producing a dirty display against Dandenong.
Not a lot went right for the two-time defending champions, with Claudia Brassard’s five-game winning streak snapped courtesy of a 65-92 loss to the Rangers including an ankle injury to captain Suzy Batkovic.
Despite leading 13-6 early in the game, the Fire, who arrived late to Dandenong Stadium after being parked on the Monash Freeway for close to two hours, were outworked and outmuscled by the Rangers, who put on a shooting display including 58% from beyond the arc.
Fire championship winner Steph Cumming (21 points and six assists) was the main protagonist – particularly early in the game – but she had plenty of allies as Sara Blicavs (15), Jacinta Hamilton (13) and Aimie Clydesdale (12) all finished in double figures.
The Fire was best served by Mia Murray (17 points) and Suzy Batkovic (18 points and 10 rebounds), who returned to the game after half-time after rolling her ankle.
The Fire will have little time to lick their wounds, with a clash against the Sydney Uni Flames tomorrow night, who opened their account earlier today with a 74-69 win over Bendigo.
“Unfortunately we didn’t match their physicality which is particularly disappointing as we know it is normally a strength of ours,” assistant coach Mark Wrobel said.
“On defence, we got caught over helping which led to too many open shots.
“A good team like Dandenong will make those shots if they are left open and that’s what happened.”
Click here to see full box scores from tonight’s game between the Fire and the Rangers.