The JCU Townsville Fire’s championship defence is back on track after barnstorming their way past the University of Canberra Capitals today.
Having won a nail-biter against SEQ on Friday night, the Fire consolidated their position in the top-four and now are just a game behind Perth and Sydney in third spot with a tantalising contest at home against the Lynx next week.
With captain Suzy Batkovic in MVP form, the Fire secured a 84-66 victory with the skipper top-scoring with 23.
The triple Olympian was well supported by Tamara Tatham (17 points and four assists), Mia Murray (12 points and three rebounds) and Cayla George (nine points and 15 rebounds).
During a blistering start to the match, the Fire and the Capitals traded buckets during the first term as Tatham, Murray and Batkovic began strongly.
WNBA superstar Renee Montgomery (25 points and three assists) and reigning Wattle Valley WNBL MVP Abby Bishop (11 points and five rebounds) kept the Capitals in the contest before the Fire edged away in the dying minutes.
Batkovic came into her own in the second term and was well supported by Nat Novosel (seven points), who found a spark on the offensive end.
With the Fire leading 48-37 at half-time, they picked up their defensive hustle in the third term as they opened up a huge buffer.
“I really wasn’t happy at half time, I thought we were going through the motions on defence and you just can’t do that in this league,” Fire coach Chris Lucas told the Townsville Bulletin.
“I addressed the group at half time and they responded by holding Canberra to 11 in the third quarter.
“I was also able to everybody in the game today and while I think we still have a way to go it was a great result in the second game of a double.”
The Fire were able to play their entire 10 in the second half, with Cherie Gallagher celebrating her 100th game with the club with four rebounds and two assists.
The Fire are now a game clear in third spot and within striking distance of the top-two.
Click here to see full box scores from today’s game.