A Mia Murray masterclass against her former team in her 250th WNBL game has inspired the JCU Townsville Fire to an 18-point win over Adelaide.
With the Fire’s title defence quickly slipping through their fingers, Murray and captain Suzy Batkovic, who was simply brilliant with 18 points, 19 rebounds and six assists to be named the First Things First MVP, led from the front as they secured a 72-54 road win.
Playing in front of her family and friends, Murray started proceedings in the only way she knows how – knocking down a triple to spark the Fire – as they once again made a hot start.
Micaela Cocks (11 points and five rebounds) looked lively early, while Batkovic found some momentum going into the first change.
Kayla Standish (10 points and five rebounds) took over in the second term – along with Batkovic who had a double-double before the end of the half – as the two-time reigning WNBL champions looked to break away from the Lightning.
A three-point dagger on the stroke of half-time cut the deficit to seven, however, as the Fire trudged into the main break with plenty of work to do.
But there would be no second half fadeout as Murray caught fire from beyond the arc, stroking five triples en route to a game-high 26.
“It was great for Mia – and the team – for her to have such a big game,” Fire assistant Mark Wrobel said.
“Suzy was the powerhouse inside for the team and did a great job on the glass, which was pivotal in the end.”
With less than 24 hours between games, head coach Claudia Brassard praised the resolve of her team, who continue to be tested on and off the court.
The Fire were the walking wounded leading into the Doomsday Double, but return to Townsville with a 1-1 split having taken right up to Perth last night.
“It was a tough win on the road with such a short turnaround between games,” Brassard said.
“Our leaders showed some character and came through with some big plays when we needed them.”
The Fire host the Melbourne Boomers in their final home game before Christmas at Townsville Stadium on Saturday, December 10.
Click here to see full box scores from tonight’s game.