The Wattle Valley WNBL’s MVP-in-waiting, Suzy Batkovic, has guided the JCU Townsville Fire to a 14-point victory over the University of Canberra Capitals.
It seems only a travesty can prevent Batkovic from claiming her fourth WNBL MVP award in five seasons after posting a season-high 37 points against the Capitals to secure a 97-83 win just days after arriving home from Rio.
With the Capitals looking to secure their first win of the season, Batkovic ensured the visitors would not break their drought in North Queensland as she carried the Fire on the back of 16/25 shooting from the field.
With Canadian Olympian Tamara Tatham ruled out for the remainder of the season, Chris Lucas was forced to shuffle the deck, with Nat Novosel responding in the best possible way.
The WNBA draftee posting 15 points and six assists in an important support role and found willing allies via Cayla George (12 points and 10 rebounds), Kate Gaze (11 points) and Darcee Garbin (11 points).
Having sat out last night’s encounter against SEQ, Denesha Stallworth (26 points and 10 rebounds) kept the visitors in the encounter – receiving solid support from Renee Montgomery (20 points and eight assists) – but the Fire proved too slick down the finish as they consolidated second position on the WNBL ladder.
“Defensively we still have some work to do,” Fire coach Chris Lucas said.
“Canberra has been playing some pretty good basketball during the back end of the season and Stallworth makes them a better team.
“I was pretty with aspects of our game today – I thought Kate Gaze and Darcee Garbin were both great – and Suzy was terrific.
“It was an important win and now we move our attention to Sydney next week.”
The Fire resume at Townsville RSL Stadium on Friday night when they host the Sydney Uni Flames from 7pm.
Click here to see box scores from today’s game between the Fire and the Capitals.