Fire grind out defensive win

October 29, 2017 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire have clinched a series win over the Melbourne Boomers after registering a 64-57 victory on their home floor.

Having accounted for the Boomers on the road in round one, the Fire ensured they would have head-to-head on the championship-favourites as Suzy Batkovic celebrated another historic night.

The five-time WNBL MVP registered 26 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists en route to being named the First Things First MVP.

It was Batkovic’s and-one play to start the second half that was memorable, however, as the Fire skipper surpassed Shelley Sandie (5204) into second place on the WNBL’s all-time scorers’ list.

Only Rachael Sporn (5823) stands between Batkovic (5216) and the scoring record, with the 36-year-old poised to overtake her should she continue her playing career into 2018/19.

In a defensive grind, the Fire again failed to find any offensive rhythm, with Batkovic, Kelly Wilson (15 points and four rebounds) and Darcee Garbin (10 points and three rebounds) the only players in double figures.

Despite leading 9-2 midway through the opening term, the Fire gave up the final 10 points of the first quarter to trail at the first change.

Things failed to get better in the second term as Melbourne continue to edge away but Batkovic kept the scoreboard ticking over.

“It was a real grind,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“I was disappointed with our effort last week and the girls did a much better job of responding this week and that’s what I want from them all the time.

“Melbourne are a good team, so to secure the series is very good.

“We’ve got to bank that at start looking to Perth and Adelaide next week.”

Leading 27-24 at the main change, the margin evaporated in the third term as Britt Smart (16 points) and Bec Cole (11 points) caused headaches for the Fire.

The hosts never gave up, with six points from Garbin at the start of the quarter igniting their biggest lead of the game.

Batkovic and Wilson proved clutch in the stretch as the Fire clinched a memorable win to move into second place on the ladder with a 4-2 record.

Click here to see full box scores from the Fire and the Boomers.