Aokuso Inspires Townsville to Heart Stopping Win

January 28, 2023 | Townsville Fire news

Townsville blitzed the Lightning last week without pivotal point guard Steph Reid and the Fire made a winning start to their round 12 double header despite her absence again, albeit by the narrowest of margins. The Capitals had possession and a chance to snatch a dramatic victory, with 13 seconds remaining, but the hosts held firm, forcing a turn over and securing a pulsating 81-80 win. The orange army exploded into joy as the buzzer sounded, Mikaela Ruef felt another huge home crowd willing the side over the line.

“Yeah they got really behind us and they were really loud like they were shooting their free throws. I mean it was a very emotional game we were all super into it, like even the girls on the bench were shaking, but that happens, we have close games we did what we needed to do to get the result.”

The vice captain empathized with the Canberra struggling to contain Zitina Aokuso in the paint.

“I mean Z kills us every day in practice so it’s nice that she goes and does it to other teams.”

Her 8 points in the final quarter inspired the JCU Fire’s fight back from a 62-70 deficit. Townsville coach Shannon Seebohm was impressed by the big’s moves under the rim.

“I thought she was fantastic! She obviously was efficient around the basket, and you know she was injured for a lot of that first part of the season so she’s starting to feel a lot more comfortable again, and yeah she was great and we’re hoping to see a lot more of that.”

He praised Karlie Samuelson after the import bounced back from a quiet first half to hit 4 threes from 4 attempts after the break, including back to back daggers, in the dying stages of the contest.

“She’s a pro she knows what she’s got to do, so she was always going to take those shots and she was big time, obviously hitting those couple of threes down the stretch.”

Fellow import Tianna Hawkins hit clutch free throws which proved to be the game winning points. She finished with 19 and 8 rebounds.

Next up is the Flames in Sydney for the second time this season, Townsville triumphed 92-77 when the teams clashed earlier this month. You can catch tomorrows tussle on the NINE Now app or follow score updates on the club’s social media pages.