LONG-TIME nemesis of the Bendigo Bank Spirit, Townsville Fire struck again to win last night’s Women’s National Basketball League match in north Queensland by four points.
Billed as a “danger game” for the ladder-leading Spirit, it proved to be as Townsville gained a seven-point break by three quarter-time and then withstood a fightback to triumph 56-52.
Bendigo’s winning streak of six was snapped as a Fire attack led by Micaela Cocks, 13 points; Jessica Adair, 10; and Jessica Foley, 9: kept the heat on.
Spirit raced to a seven-point lead before Fire scored.
Field goal percentages for both were remarkably low in the first half which ended with scores locked on 24-all.
Bendigo had sunk just eight of 34 attempts from the field and just two of 10 in three-point territory.
Townsville’s tally was 9-30 and 0-8, but it had a 100 per cent record at the free-throw line.
Spurred on by the vocal fans, Townsville led 42-35 with a quarter to go.
The Bernie Harrower-coached Spirit showed plenty of fight as a three-pointer by Gabe Richards put her team within two points at 45 seconds to go, but Fire replied through Rachel Flanagan to again lead by four at 24 seconds.
Shortly after, Fire was celebrating a hard-fought victory.
Bendigo’s best were Richards, 17 points and six rebounds; Kelsey Griffin, 13 and 10; and Kristi Harrower, 10 and 8.
Although Spirit won the rebounding duels, 38-33, Fire’s poise at the charity stripe was a key to victory.
After just their second loss of the season, Bendigo will aim to rebound in tomorrow’s match against Logan Thunder. Tip off is at 3pm.