Fire strike down Lightning in Adelaide

November 18, 2017 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire have moved to the top of the table in the WNBL following a 101-78 victory over Adelaide.

In another dominant performance, the Fire secured their third consecutive win – and an important mini-series against the Lightning – as they posted their highest score of the season.

While Suzy Batkovic was named the Recoverite MVP after registering 23 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three steals, the votes could well have been raffled as no less than six players reached double figures.

Point-guard Kelly Wilson was simply outstanding with nine points and 12 assists, finishing the game with a plus-41 differential.

“Over the past three weeks, we’ve done a much better job of finding our offensive rhythm against some different defensive looks,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“With different threats right across the floor, it is hard for teams to focus on one particular player because we have different players putting up their hands and getting the job done.

“I thought Kelly did an exceptional job of steering us around the court – she’s such an unselfish player but she was brilliant at both ends – and she always made the right decision.”

Having put their sluggish starts to games behind them, the Fire came our rolling as Laurin Mincy (10 points) and Batkovic led the charge.

The five-time WNBL MVP was simply unstoppable in the opening term as she had 10 points midway through the first quarter.

With Mia Murray (14 points and six rebounds), Micaela Cocks (17 points and two rebounds) and Cayla George (16 points and 13 rebounds) striking daggers from beyond the arc, the Fire was able to open up the game going into the first change.

In the second term, Mincy and Darcee Garbin (12 points and four rebounds) took over the scoring as Wilson continued to find the open player before knocking down the first of her two long-range efforts.

With the lead out to 20 at the main change, Abby Bishop (24 points and 13 rebounds) appeared to be the only resistance standing in between the Fire and another blowout win.

With Murray and George catching Fire in the third term, the visitors continued to stamp their championship credentials before the Lightning trimmed the deficit to 11 two minutes into the final quarter.

The 10-0 run forced Brassard to bring back her starters as Batkovic, George and Wilson iced the game.

“We got a bit of a fright,” Brassard said.

“To our credit, we responded when we needed to do but it’s important that we play 40 minutes of positive basketball.”

As a result, the Fire (7-3) have momentarily moved past Sydney Uni (7-3) at the top of the ladder thanks to their superior percentage, but the Flames have the opportunity to reclaim the position when they face the Perth Lynx (5-4) tomorrow.

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