Queen B’s reign to continue

October 5, 2017 | Townsville Fire news

The WNBL’s most dominant player, Suzy Batkovic, will run into her biggest challenger tomorrow when the JCU Townsville Fire commence their 2017/18 WNBL season.

The WNBL’s highly anticipated return to TV will pit Batkovic, winner of five of the past six MVP awards, against Liz Cambage, who claimed the competition’s highest honour in 2011/12.

The Fire skipper has been without peer in recent times, however, and will look to continue her reign as she attempts to lead the club to a third title.

“We’re not just going to focus on her … obviously she’s going to be a focal point for them, but for us it’s working as a team to slow her down but also be aware that we’ve got other jobs to do out there,” Batkovic said.

“She’s going to have a lot of points in every game, but it’s the other people in their team as well that we need to be sure we’re controlling.

“We’re just going to work on our game plan and limit her as much as we can.”

Having fallen short in the semi-finals last season, the Fire have reloaded over winter with the return of dual championship winner Cayla George and a raft of new stars including WNBA draftee Laurin Mincy, former Under-19 Australian captain Mikhaela Donnelly and Gems excitement machine Zitina Aokuso.

Los Angeles sharp-shooter Sydney Wiese will make her Fire debut at home against the UC Capitals after falling narrowly short in the WNBA finals for the Sparks.

While much has been made of Batkovic’s tantalising clash with Cambage, who posted 17 points and six rebounds against Dandenong last night during Melbourne’s 76-61 victory before being ejected, the Fire boast weapons right across the floor.

After guiding Australia to a gold medal at the World University Games, Darcee Garbin appears on the brink of a breakout season, while savvy veterans Mia Murray and Micaela Cocks have been in scintillating touch during pre-season.

“Liz Cambage is a big focal point, but we’ve got Suzy Batkovic so watch out Melbourne,” Fire forward Cayla George said.

“It’s a tougher, stronger, quicker league. There’s less room for mistakes because there’s not a lot of time and we have a shorter recovery between games and more travel.

“I’m impressed with the whole squad at the moment. We’re really hungry just to get out there and actually play and start the season off right.”

The Fire commence their 2017/18 WNBL campaign against the Boomers from 2pm on Saturday with the match broadcast live on Fox Sports.

Fire members and fans are encouraged to watch the game at Townsville RSL.

Click here to become a member of the JCU Townsville Fire.