Fire’s desperate finals bid continues tonight
THE Townsville Fire’s desperate finals bid continues tonight when they host the Australian Institute of Sport in round 12 of the Women’s National Basketball League.
Townsville have been convincing against the AIS this season, defeating the students 94-63 in round eight and 90-65 in round nine.
Anything short of victory tonight would not only be a disappointment, it would almost certainly put an end to the club’s playoffs hopes.
Coach David Herbert said to make the finals, Townsville needed to take the rest of their season possession by possession.
‘‘We’re pretty much focused on the first quarter, the first possession,’’ he said.
‘‘If we don’t play for possession there’s every likelihood we won’t win the game.
‘‘We’re not complacent at all because if (the AIS) are positive and fired up, there’s every chance they could steal the win (then) we’d be in a lot of trouble.’’
As reported in yesterday’s TownsvilleBulletin, the Fire will be doing it a little tougher than usual with up to five players set to miss the contest.
Star guard Rohanee Cox and Andrea Walsh are both out with family commitments while Kelly Wilson is still sidelined with an ankle injury.
Still nursing the foot injury which kept her out of round 11, forward Biancia Abbott is unlikely to play while captain Claudia Brassard has been struck down with a virus but is expected to suit up.
‘‘At the moment, if Claudia doesn’t play, along with Biancia and Rohanee out, we would have the shortest team in the competition and the AIS have the tallest,’’ Herbert said. ‘‘Height is always a major challenge with the AIS but it is even more so now.
‘‘Jennifer Crouse (192cm) will have a pretty major role in this game and we need her to play smart and keep out of foul trouble.’’
Herbert said he expected the likes of Tania Heritage and Rachael Flanagan to step up and support Renae Camino in the absence of her scoring partner Cox.
He also hoped to see youngsters Lisa Braunberger and Kirby Dalgleish make the most of the opportunity.
Meanwhile, in Adelaide, the Lightning host the Bulleen Boomers and Townsville are banking on a favourable result.
If the Lightning can record a win, and the Fire also get up, the gap between Bulleen and Townsville will be reduced to one game.
From five games remaining after round 12 for each side, the Boomers and Townsville meet twice, once at SeaFM Stadium and once in Bulleen. The Fire also play Adelaide, Dandenong and Canberra while Bulleen meet Sydney, Canberra and the AIS.