De­fence, depth fuel team’s 84- 49 wal­lop­ing of Cairns Ti­tle tip for Flames

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH jonathon. tuxworth@ news. com. au

TOWNSVILLE Flames vet­eran Rachael McCully be­lieves the team’s depth and suf­fo­cat­ing de­fence makes them gen­uine con­tenders for the QBL ti­tle af­ter they re­stricted Cairns to just 12 first half points in Satur­day’s 84- 49 thrash­ing at Mur­ray Sta­dium.

The hosts built a com­mand­ing 40- 12 lead at half­time to all but en­sure they leapfrogged the Dol­phins into fourth on the ta­ble.

The Flames have now won their last five games and McCully said each mem­ber of the squad had worked out how they fit into the puzzle af­ter a slow start to the year.

“The last cou­ple of weeks we’ve re­ally known our role in the team and every­one is com­ing in with a lot of en­ergy,” McCully ( pic­tured) said.

“The ex­cit­ing thing is at the de­fen­sive end we were able to keep a team like that to five points for the first quar­ter, and 12 for the first half.

“It’s kind of un­heard of, es­pe­cially against Cairns, who can score. We ba­si­cally took the game away from them by quar­ter time; they were re­ally strug­gling to get into of­fence and even get over the half at times.

“We had fresh peo­ple com- ing in ev­ery pos­ses­sion and they re­ally strug­gled with that kind of de­fen­sive pres­sure.

“If you’re forc­ing a team to turn the ball over 30 times, you must be do­ing some­thing right.”

The Heat aren’t overly re­liant on Townsville Fire WNBL stars Darcee Garbin ( 15 points) and Mia Mur­ray ( 10) on the of­fen­sive end, and both were able to rest on the bench.

“We lost our way a lit­tle bit early in the sea­son but now every­one knows their role and giv­ing it ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing be­cause with our depth they’re go­ing to get a breath- er,” McCully said. “It takes a lot of pres­sure off those two to have to put up big scores.”

In the men’s clash the Townsville Heat bounced back from a nail­bit­ing loss to Gold Coast last week with an 86- 72 vic­tory over Cairns Mar­lins. QBL RE­SULTS Men: Townsville Heat 86 ( Justin Baker 25, Josh Wilcher 24, Peter Craw­ford 19) d. Cairns Mar­lins 72 ( D Heuir 19, A Fisher 15).

Women: Townsville Heat 84 ( Darcee Garbin 15, R McCully 15, A MacKay 14) d. Cairns Dol­phins 49 ( A Gloyd 13, R Pryor 11).

FIGHT­ING BACK: Townsville Heat swing­man Peter Craw­ford is marked by Cairns Mar­lins guard Da­mon Heuir at Mur­ray Sta­dium. Pic­ture: SCOTT RADFORD- CHISHOLM

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