16/04/2024

Townsville's Lauren Nicholson in action (Picture: WNBL)

The Townsville Fire remains undefeated in WNBL23, making it three from three games, handing the Southside Flyers their first loss of the season, and proving to the rest of the league that they are no easy beats this season.

The Fire started strongly in the first quarter, attacking the basket, and getting stops which helped translate into easy fast break baskets. They forced the Flyers into tough shots and didn’t allow them to find any flow offensively.

Mikaela Ruef and Lara McSpadden were strong in the post, whilst Steph Reid caused problems for the Flyers’ guards, setting up the offensive end, and finding good space for Hawkins and Lauren Nicholson around the perimeter. The Fire also crashed the glass and forced the Flyers into uncharacteristic turnovers.

The Flyers were able to go on their run, with the likes of Lauren Jackson, Maddi Rocci, and Sara Blicavs making an impact. But it was Nicholson continuing her strong shooting display, with 15 points to halftime, lighting it up from the three-point line.

McSpadden brought the energy in the first half, being a presence off the bench, taking the right shots and doing the one-percenters to provide her side extra possessions.

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Blicavs, Aimee Rocci and Kayla Thornton continued to attack the basket for the Flyers, but they were unable to stay in front of their opponents and the Fire continued to attack the basket and make shots.

Three-point shooting continued to be an issue for the Flyers in the last quarter – as it was throughout the entire match. Whilst Kayla Thronton attacked the basket and did the little things well, as well as Sara Blicavs crashing the offensive end strongly, it was a team collective unit effort from the Fire that maintained the lead to seal the victory in the end.

Four players for the Fire got into double figures, with Nicholson finishing with 25 points, Reid with 15 points, and Hawkins and Ruef each finishing with 14 points.

For the Flyers, Lauren Jackson had a solid game with 21 points and Kayla Thornton with 16 points.

The Fire now has a two-week break, before facing the undefeated Bendigo Spirit on December 2, whilst the Flyers play at home against the Sydney Flames on December 1, before travelling to Adelaide to face the Lightning on December 3.

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