The Wattle Valley WNBL’s newest franchise has flagged their title credentials with a 95-75 victory over the JCU Townsville Fire in Logan tonight.
Having endured a tough first-up loss in the inaugural Queensland derby, SEQ ensured that there would be no repeat as they squared the ledger at home ahead of the third and deciding encounter in North Queensland in the New Year.
In near identical circumstances to last month’s clash, the Stars jumped the Fire during the opening term as they raced to a 9-0 lead before skipper Suzy Batkovic finally opened the visitors’ account.
The three-time WNBL MVP, who continues to firm as the hot favourite to claim a fourth gong, played a lone hand for the Fire, as she reduced the deficit to three points at quarter-time off the back of 14 points and five rebounds.
The Stars nailed back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to start the second term and they never looked back thanks to the blistering play of Jordan Hooper (25 points and seven rebounds), Ify Ibekwe (17 points and eight rebounds), Lauren Mansfield (17 points and seven rebounds), Rachel Jarry (16 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Bec Allen (16 points).
The Fire, on the other hand, failed to find any cohesion at either end of the floor as Batkovic finished with a game-high 32 points and 13 rebounds, while Cayla George (16 points and six rebounds), Micaela Cocks (10 points and two steals) and Nat Novosel (nine points and four rebounds) played cameos.
The Fire will have the opportunity to bounce back on Sunday when they host the Dandenong Rangers from 3pm at Townsville RSL Stadium.
Click here to see full box scores from tonight’s game.