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