Famed US de­fen­sive stop­per Mincy to bol­ster ros­ter af­ter Is­rael stint New guard to ig­nite Fire

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER trent. slatter@ news. com. au

THE Townsville Fire are putting the fin­ish­ing touches on their star- stud­ded ros­ter for the up­com­ing WNBL sea­son with the sign­ing of WNBA draftee Lau­rin Mincy.

Renowned as a de­fen­sive stop­per, Mincy en­joyed a dec­o­rated col­lege ca­reer at Mary­land where she av­er­aged a team- best 13.5 points, 4.0 re­bounds and 3.4 as­sists.

A third- round se­lec­tion by New York in the 2015 WNBA draft, Mincy was signed by Seat­tle in 2016 be­fore waived by the Storm.

The six- foot guard has spent two years play­ing in Is­rael, av­er­ag­ing 15.9 points, 4.3 re­bounds and 3.3 as­sists with Ra­mat Hasharon.

Mincy is the se­cond im­port on Townsville’s ros­ter for this sea­son – join­ing LA Sparks sharp­shooter Syd­ney Wiese – and coach Clau­dia Bras­sard felt the 25- year- old brought a dif­fer­ent dy­namic to the guard po­si­tion.

“She’s long, ath­letic, and can get to the rim, but re­ally we’re af­ter her de­fence with her ath­leti­cism that can re­ally get up the floor and bother some peo­ple,” Bras­sard said.

“I think we have a lot be­ing of great three- point shoot­ers al­ready so Mincy brings some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent.

“We wanted some­one who we could say, ‘ here’s Kelsey Grif­fin, go lock her down’ or ‘ Steph Cum­ming’s hurt­ing us so you go spend five min­utes on her and see what you can do’. I think she’s that type of player.

“She’s played over­seas for a year or two as well so she’s not a rookie by any means.

“She al­most cracked the Seat­tle ros­ter two years ago so she’s keen to try and get her­self back in those line- ups. Hope­fully we can as­sist in get­ting her where she wants to be and she can help us get that tro­phy back here.”

Mincy will con­nect with the club be­fore their first of­fi­cial day of pre­sea­son on Septem­ber 2, but the Fire are likely to be with­out Mel­bourne- raised guard Marena Whit­tle.

The for­mer col­lege star in­jured her knee play­ing for the Nu­nawad­ing Spec­tres in the SEABL.

Bras­sard said the Fire were still con­sid­er­ing their op­tions to re­place Whit­tle, but the coach was con­fi­dent they have the play­ing depth to over­come any in­jury set­backs.

“It’s a bit un­known if it’s go­ing to be a three or four­month in­jury so we might look at bring­ing some­one in for the sea­son and have her as an 11th,” Bras­sard said.

“I think we’re cov­ered in ev­ery po­si­tion. We’ve got play­ers who can play mul­ti­ple po­si­tions as well so should some­one go down then we’ve get ev­ery spot cov­ered.

“For us, I think it’ll be just about man­ag­ing our bod­ies with all that travel and mak­ing sure we pre­pare the ath­letes as best we can with lim­ited time on the floor.”

Townsville Fire squad: Haylee An­drews ( de­vel­op­ment player), Zitina Aokuso, Suzy Batkovic, Mi­caela Cocks, Darcee Garbin, Cayla Ge­orge, Miela Good­child ( de­vel­op­ment player), Lau­rin Mincy ( im­port), Mia Mur­ray, Marena Whit­tle, Syd­ney Wiese ( im­port), Kelly Wil­son.

Fire re­cruit Lau­rin Mincy.

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