Townsville coach Claudia Brassard. Picture: Evan Morgan
Townsville coach Claudia Brassard. Picture: Evan Morgan

Coach wants to keep stoking Fire

TOWNSVILLE Fire coach Claudia Brassard has encouraged her side to keep moving the ball as they look to build on last weekend's blistering win over the Perth Lynx.

The Fire will have a spring in their steps when they travel to Bendigo tomorrow night after producing an offensive masterclass with 16 three-pointers to beat the Lynx 97-72.

It was the Fire's highest score of the season and Brassard said that stellar shooting performance came back to their aggressive mindset with the ball.

"It's something we've been working on pretty much since day dot," Brassard said.

"Normally Perth are a lot more disruptive and they're denying in lanes, but we didn't turn the ball over and that was a huge factor in the game.

"I think that was the first game where we were actually on the positive side of the turnover count where points from turnovers weren't benefiting the other team and you end up with a big result."

Bendigo will be desperate to claw back some pride on their home floor tomorrow night given they haven't won a game since suffering back-to-back losses to the Fire last month.

The Spirit (6-9) also released import Barbara Turner last week to cap a tumultuous run which has seen them slip to seventh on the ladder after winning five of their first seven matches.

Brassard felt the Fire had shown the blueprint for how to stop Bendigo, in particular their captain Nat Hurst.

The reigning champions have kept Hurst to just six points in each game this season - well below her season average of 11.2 points - but Brassard expected the star guard would have a point to prove against the Fire.

"Most definitely, she always has a chip on her shoulder," Brassard said.

"I think Townsville was the first team that came out with the game plan of just denying her the ball everywhere and frustrating her and everybody's adopted that game plan since then and it's worked.

"They've got good size inside with (Becca) Tobin and Nat Hurst. We were able to shut her down, but now she's come back into some form so we've got to make sure that we do a job on those two."

The Fire won't have Suzy Batkovic in Bendigo as she manages a troublesome neck injury and Brassard admitted their captain was only an outside chance to return against Canberra on Sunday.

"She's not travelling so we've already made that call. There's no improvement yet. She sees the doctor again on Friday so I guess she's probably very doubtful for this weekend," Brassard said.

"We've got an Opals centre (Marianna Tolo) coming here on Sunday and Suzy's defence against her would be fantastic. Certainly there's a hope there, but I think it's quite minimal at this stage."

News Corp Australia

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