The JCU Townsville Fire turned Chris Lucas’ homecoming into the house of pain with a 29-point win against Adelaide.
Returning to Townsville Stadium for the first time since guiding the Fire to back-to-back championships, Lucas, back at the helm of the Lightning, could do little but look on and watch as the two-time reigning champions posted an 85-56 win.
Two former Lightning stars – Mia Murray and Kayla Standish – inflicted the vast majority of the damage either side of half-time.
Murray posting 10 points and five rebounds in the first half to ignite the Fire before Standish, who went into the main change with nine points, took over and finished with 18 points and eight rebounds en route to being named the First Things First MVP.
“We want to see Kayla being aggressive and looking to attack the basket,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.
“I thought she did a great job of that today.
“We had a good spread right across the floor but we still have areas that we need to work on.”
The Fire raced out of the blocks as the opened up a double figure lead in the opening term before skipper Suzy Batkovic (12 points) was forced to sit with her third personal early in the second quarter.
The Lightning managed to peg back the margin but a 19-0 run from the Fire going into the main change effectively ended the contest before Brassard trialled a number of combinations in the second half.
Amy Kame (nine points) looked impressive during her WNBL debut, while Darcee Garbin (11 points), Natasha Cloud (eight points) and Chevannah Paalvast (six points) also showed some promising signs.
The Fire will hit the road for the first time next week when they face Dandenong and the Sydney Uni Flames.
Click here to see full box scores from the Fire’s game against Adelaide.