The JCU Townsville Fire have returned to the winners’ circle on the eve of Christmas with a 70-61 victory over Dandenong.
Having been embarrassed by SEQ on Friday night, the Fire ensured there would be no repeat as they consolidated third spot on the Wattle Valley WNBL ladder – a game clear of the Rangers and with an important series win – in front of one of their biggest crowds of the season.
Micaela Cocks led the way for the Fire with 15 points, two assists and two rebounds to be named the First Things First MVP, while Tamara Tatham (15 points and five rebounds), Suzy Batkovic (14 points and nine rebounds), Mia Murray (11 points and five assists) and Cayla George (seven points and 16 rebounds) all provided telling contributions.
“It was a pleasing result, but I can tell you now the girls need a break and they’ll come back in a week’s time,” Fire coach Chris Lucas said.
“We were pretty disappointed in our performance the other night and I think they responded well, so it was important to get that win.”
It was an even game from the outset, with the Fire going into the first break with a five-point lead.
Dandenong fought back in the second term, however, and locked the scores going into half time at 31 points apiece.
Entering the final quarter with a two-point advantage, the Fire then managed to comfortably consolidate their lead, at one stage managing nine unanswered points to open up a double digit advantage.
That lead proved insurmountable in the end, and the Fire’s nine-point win ensures they stay within reach of the ladder leading Perth Lynx and Sydney Uni Flames.
“It (the WNBL) is still tight, so it doesn’t change anything from our point of view,” Lucas said.
“We’ve got a really tough run home, three road trips and some really tough games, so I think the break would be great for us but the win was pretty important.”
The Fire return to the court on New Year’s Eve when they travel to Perth to face the Lynx before backing up two days later against Adelaide.
Click here to see full box scores from the Fire’s game against Dandenong.