The JCU Townsville Fire stole a thriller in overtime yesterday against the Sydney Uni Flames.
The 79-78 victory sees the Fire leapfrog the Flames into second place on the Wattle Valley WNBL ladder, with spots in the top-four at a premium given the evenness of the competition.
As she has done all season, skipper Suzy Batkovic led the way with 32 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four steals in a First Things First MVP performance.
It was a seesawing match throughout, with Sydney Uni leading by three points after the first period and the Fire leading by the same margin going into half-time on the back of a 12-2 run to close out the term.
Scores were locked going into the final quarter, and the Fire came out of the blocks strong to clinch a four-point lead with four minutes remaining.
The Flames fought back, however, and a Joslyn Tinkle three-pointer put the home side up by two with 22 seconds remaining.
The Fire wouldn’t lay down though, and with 12 seconds remaining Batkovic sent the clash into overtime.
Following on from the trend in regular time, the lead momentum changed constantly throughout overtime.
With the Flames leading by one with the clock winding down, the Fire found Batkovic on an in-bound play, but the triple Olympian was immediately double teamed.
Maintaining her composure, Batkovic found an unguarded Mia Murray under the rim and the reigning Rachael Sporn Medallist put the Fire ahead with just two seconds remaining.
The Flames had one final opportunity to win the game, but with Cayla George guarding the inbound play, Hayley Moffatt could not find a way past the Opals forward and was called for a five-second violation as the Fire pulled off a remarkable victory.
Tamara Tatham finished with 11 points, five assists, and four rebounds, while Micaela Cocks chimed in with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists.
“The play was drawn up to get me a shot but I had two people on me and Mia was open so she stepped in, finished off strong and got us the win,” Batkovic told the Townsville Bulletin.
“I know every game is vital this year and as the captain I have to make sure I’m accountable and leading by example so to win a game like that is a credit to all the girls.”
The JCU Townsville Fire will face the SEQ Stars in Logan on Friday night before returning home to face the Dandenong Rangers at Townsville RSL Stadium on Sunday with tip off at 3pm.
Click here to see full box scores from the Fire’s clash with the Flames.