February 28, 2023 | Townsville Fire news

Tianna Hawkins has continued her late charge to be crowned the WNBL’s MVP after adding another incredible display to her string of standout performances, particularly in recent weeks. The import’s averaged a whopping 22 points per game in February, following another 20 point haul, against Sydney, which of course included a one handed, game winner as the siren sounded. JCU Fire Coach Shannon Seebohm believes she poll strongly.

“Probably the last month she’s the best player in the league. You know she’s a match up nightmare defensively when she’s fully engaged, which she has been since we went to Perth. So yeah, I think she’s the best player in the competition.”

The best, but not his favourite, according to the vice captain. Mikaela Ruef interjected in jest during the coach’s press conference when Seebohm saved some praise for Courtney Woods.

“Courtney’s his favourite! For sure!”

He didn’t exactly deny it while chuckling through his response. The guard deserved love, lifting the league leader’s intensity off the bench, after their slow start. She scored 6 points and pulled down 6 boards.

“I love Courtney! I mean I love all my players equally, but I do take great joy in seeing Courtney do well. She’s brought into her role tremendously, she’s all about the team and all she wants to do is help us win.”

Ruef finished with a double double, dropping 12 points to go along with 11 boards. The big also had 5 assists, including an outrageous full court pass to set up Hawkins for Townsville’s first go ahead bucket of the contest, midway through the third quarter. The Flames refused to burn out though and a seesawing fourth period played out. The visitors appeared to have caused an upset after re-taking the lead with just over a second left on the clock. Ruef remained calm while 2904 fans were on the edge of their seats.

“Even when Keely Froling made that shot at the end, we went into that time out and there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to make a shot and win the game.”

Confidence coming on the back of Townsville’s 9 game winning streak which increased to 10, in an unbelievable ending at the Fire Pit.

“We had such a massive crowd again and the place just erupted when that shot went in, it was awesome. There’s just no better feeling than being a part of that and the fans really added to that moment.”

A crowd figure of 4 thousand plus, is the goal for the club’s first home final. The Fire will finish the regular season this week, with an away double header against Bendigo and Southside. Victory in either clash will secure top spot on the ladder.

Finals ticket information will be released soon.