The JCU Townsville Fire has moved a step closer to the post-season after clinching an 84-60 win over the Melbourne Boomers.
Having lost the corresponding fixture to the Boomers earlier this season, the reigning Wattle Valley WNBL champions were taking nothing for granted tonight, but a blistering opening quarter ensured history would not repeat itself as the Fire went into the first change leading 29-7.
Opals forward Cayla George was simply brilliant when the whips were cracking as she led all scorers with eight points and five rebounds at quarter-time – outscoring the Boomers on her own – and was ably assisted by Nat Novosel and Darcee Garbin.
Novosel, in particular, was the Fire’s spark plug, finishing with a game-high 20 points to be named the First Things First MVP.
The Fire continued to run rampant in the second term as Chris Lucas tried a number of different combinations.
The introduction of Chevannah Paalvast proved telling late in the term as she knocked down a pair of jumpers – the latter as the clock expired – as the Fire went into the main break leading 51-22.
In the second half, Lucas put the cue in the rack as he rested the majority of his starters ahead of tomorrow’s crunch game against Bendigo.
With the Boomers severely hampered through injury, the opportunity allowed Kate Gaze to shine, with the championship winning guard finishing with 16 points and three rebounds as she continued her impressive recent form.
George also finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Garbin (eight points and eight rebounds) and Mia Murray (eight points) played handy cameos.
The Fire will look to secure top spot with a victory over Bendigo tomorrow with the match commencing at 2pm.
Click here to see full box scores from the Fire’s 24-point win over the Boomers.