Mantra that has Mi­caela fired up

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

BE ag­gres­sive. It’s the sim­ple mantra which vet­eran guard Mi­caela Cocks be­lieves has un­locked her best form for the Townsville Fire.

Cocks is av­er­ag­ing a ca­reer­high 10.73 points and 3.73 re­bounds per game in the Fire’s ti­tle de­fence – al­most dou­ble her out­put from last sea­son when she was mostly used off the bench.

Fire coach Clau­dia Bras­sard re­cently chal­lenged Cocks to put more shots up and the ver­sa­tile guard has de­liv­ered, av­er­ag­ing 15.5 points in their past four matches.

Cocks has be­come the Fire’s most con­sis­tent of­fen­sive threat, par­tic­u­larly from three- point range, but she in­sisted her ap­proach was al­ways about do­ing what’s best for the team.

“I’ve al­ways thought about be­ing ag­gres­sive when open shots are there, but it’s just dif­fer­ent teams and dif­fer­ent roles,” Cocks said.

“Clau­dia asked me to shoot open shots so I just put my New Zealand mind­set in a lit­tle bit more and I’m try­ing to be more ag­gres­sive.

“I’m al­ways a lot more of a scor­ing guard for New Zealand just be­cause we need that whereas in past Townsville teams we have had so many scor­ers so I’m just try­ing to do what­ever the team needs.”

The Kiwi guard’s strong form has helped spark the Fire after an in­con­sis­tent start and they will likely fin­ish the round in the top four with a win over Ade­laide at Townsville Sta­dium tonight.

Cocks said the Fire still needed to im­prove as they chase their fourth WNBL cham­pi­onship in five years, but she felt their new com­bi­na­tions were fi­nally com­ing to­gether.

“We were such a new team and we didn’t have a long pre- sea­son to­gether and so I just think the early strug­gles we were still find­ing our roles and fig­ur­ing our­selves out,” she said. “We un­for­tu­nately couldn’t get over the line against Mel­bourne, but we’ve had three close games against them and they are an awe­some team with lots of Opals.

“They’ve set the stan­dard and we haven’t quite met that stan­dard yet, but I think we’re in a good place where we can keep im­prov­ing.

“I think as the sea­son keeps go­ing we’ll get bet­ter and bet­ter and that’s show­ing.”

Cocks is a 193- game vet­eran and the long­est serv­ing player on the Fire’s ros­ter hav­ing joined the club in 2011 after fin­ish­ing her col­lege ca­reer with the Univer­sity of Ore­gon Ducks.

That ex­pe­ri­ence will be vi­tal against Ade­laide tonight with cap­tain Suzy Batkovic in doubt as she man­ages a pinched nerve in her neck.

MI­CAELA COCKS NEW AP­PROACH: Mi­caela Cocks is rel­ish­ing her role as an en­forcer.

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