Fire haunted by sluggish starts

November 2, 2017 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire’s sluggish starts have continued to haunt them well after Halloween has come and gone.

Despite boasting a 4-2 record going into last night’s game against Perth for the 2017/18 WNBL season, the Fire have struggled to find any rhythm at the start of each game and the Lynx took full toll on their way to an 87-68 victory.

In the opening term, the Fire missed 12 of their opening 13 shots of the game as the Lynx opened up a double-digit lead which was never headed throughout the entire contest.

In stark contrast to the Fire, the Lynx could not miss, splashing eight of their first 12 three-point attempts to lead 56-37 at the main change.

“Anytime you allow 29 points in a quarter, you’re probably not going to win the game, especially when it is the first quarter,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“We didn’t do a good job finding their shooters – they were hitting a lot of tough shots – but credit to them.

“(Alice) Kunek couldn’t miss in that first quarter – I thought she was pretty good – and then Sami (Whitcomb) came in and created some shots as well.

“We had seven turnovers in the first quarter which didn’t help.”

While Suzy Batkovic (24 points and seven rebounds) was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over, Cayla George (11 points and 10 rebounds) was the only other Fire player in double figures.

George’s final rebound drew her level with Lauren Jackson on 2000 for her career as she became just the eighth player in WNBL history to achieve the milestone.

The tale of the tape, however, was the Fire’s inability to convert from long-rage, finishing with just three of their 24 attempts at a paltry 12%.

Couple that with 20 turnovers and it was remarkable that they were even within striking distance at three-quarter time as they narrowed the gap to 11 but failed to go on with it in the final term.

The Fire will have no time to lick their wounds as they face Adelaide at Townsville Stadium on Sunday afternoon needing to recalibrate in order to split the weekend.

The Lightning will also be looking to rebound after losing to Dandenong last night in an overtime thriller.

Click here to see full box scores between the Lynx and the Fire.