Fire clinch Sydney thriller

December 2, 2017 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire secured a nail-biting victory against the Sydney Uni Flames today to remain in the top-two on the WNBL ladder.

After a gruelling eight-day road trip, the Fire, who were hurting after back-to-back losses and the absence of star point guard Kelly Wilson, willed their way across the clinch to clinch an 88-85 win.

Five-time WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic was enormous with 26 points and 10 rebounds to be named the Recoverite MVP, but her support cast was on song, as Sydney Wiese (15 points and four assists), Cayla George (14 points and four rebounds), Darcee Garbin (13 points and five rebounds) and Mikhaela Donnelly (six points, six assists and five rebounds) all playing vital roles.

Donnelly, in particular, was resilient, stepping up in Wilson’s absence to run the team with precision.

With the clock winding down with 26 seconds left in the game, she came from the clouds to secure the biggest offensive rebound of her career and crucially made the points count to give the Fire a three-point cushion.

While the Flames were able to reduce the margin, Batkovic held her nerve from the free throw line to knock down a pair of clutch shots to improve the Fire to a 9-5 record.

“I was proud of the way we fought it out,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“It’s been a tough and demanding road trip – we’re looking forward to getting home – but we held our nerve and we made plays when it mattered.

“Hopefully that win is the shot in the arm we need during the final month of the regular season.”

While the Fire was able to lead from wire-to-wire, the Flames would not go away in keeping with the rivalry the two teams have developed.

With George and Batkovic rolling, Wiese was able to knock down two three-point bombs to hand the Fire an eight-point lead at quarter-time.

The Fire’s lead evaporated in the second term before Garbin rattled off seven points in quick succession.

A Micaela Cocks bucket on the stroke of half-time ensured the lead was nine at the main change and while the Flames again drew level in the third quarter, the Fire rallied late to push it out to double-digits.

The Flames responded down the stretch but key baskets to Wiese, George and Donnelly ensured a memorable win.

Click here to read full box scores between the Fire and the Flames.