Romelda Aiken

The Queensland Firebirds lost to the West Coast Fever, extinguishing their finals hopes. Image: Queensland Firebirds/Twitter

The Queensland Firebirds' hope of finals have been extinguished by the West Coast Fever, as the team now sits two wins out of the top four.

The Queensland Firebirds’ hope of finals has been extinguished by the West Coast Fever, as the team now sits two wins out of the top four.

The 10 goal loss (79-69) was compounded by a leg injury to wing attack Jemma Mi Mi.

It was a spirited performance by the Firebirds, who fought hard for all four quarters against one of the competition’s form teams.

After a slow start, the Firebirds got going with strong on-ball defence, sending two players to the ball carrier as the Fever transitioned down the court.

Goal attack Gretel Bueta returned to form with 25 goals and supported the team’s transition, with 32 centre pass receives and 19 feeds into goal shooter Romelda Aiken.

Kim Ravaillion fought hard to control the Firebirds’ play through the midcourt and contributed defensively with an intercept and put intense pressure over the ball.

Queensland won the third quarter by a goal but could not continue chipping into the margin in the final quarter. After the loss, Queensland is eight points behind the top four with only two games remaining.

Relying on results from other teams, the Firebirds’ hope of finals have been extinguished by the Fever on Tuesday evening.

Firebirds’ coach Megan Anderson spoke after the match about the side’s pleasing execution of their game.

“I think we did lots of good things, we executed what we wanted to execute.

“Fever are obviously a really hard team to beat. We put ourselves in with a chance multiple times throughout the game, and just gave them little runs leading into the quarter breaks.

“There’s definitely positive signs, we have to keep upbeat because if we don’t, we’ve got a game in two days’ time, and if we drop our heads we’re going to keep going downhill for that game,” Anderson said.

In the opening quarter, a five-goal lead to the Fever opened up and, despite all of their hard work, the Firebirds were unable to pull the margin in.

Anderson thought the team found their rhythm during the game and were able to chip away at the deficit, but were unable to sustain that.

“I thought we were a bit flat in the first quarter, but we definitely found our energy and our vibe and our flare out there and did lots of really good stuff.

“We just probably needed to extend those patches a little bit more and when we had that momentum, keep it,” she said.

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The injury to Mi Mi certainly flattened the Firebirds’ energy, as an on-court injury often does. Lara Dunkley returned to the court in her place, but the Fever pushed out to a double-digit lead.

Anderson said it is unlikely Mi Mi will get up for the match on such a short turnaround.

“We’re going to have to check out how Jem is, not quite sure what she’s done yet, but we’ll have a look.

“She’ll probably have a scan tomorrow, but I doubt she’ll be available for Thursday, so we’ll have to see where we go there.

“I just think everyone showed great heart tonight, we’ve had lots of things thrown at us in the last week and that was another good fight from us,” she said.

It had already been a disappointing week for the Firebirds on the injury-front, as Tara Hinchliffe was ruled out with an ACL injury.

The Queensland Firebirds will be back on court on Thursday against the Collingwood Magpies.

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