Flames turn up the heat but Power scrapes in by one point
IT IS said in sport that once the finals start it is a different competition.
Everything that was achieved throughout the year is thrown out the door, and it is literally one game at a time.
Lose and you are out.
The Gladstone Phoenix Power nearly learnt that lesson the hard way, scraping through to yet another finals series by the narrowest of margins.
It is a result that was expected going into the quarter final against Townsville, but the local women had to work a lot harder than they would have liked.
The Flames hit the Kev Broome Stadium court with nothing to lose against the favoured Power, and played exactly like that.
After jumping out to an early lead, Gladstone was reeled back in and found themselves in a real contest in the second half.
"Townsville played extremely well; it was the best game they have played all season," Power captain Jessica Bibby said.
The tough battle was exactly what the Power needed, according to Bibby, to put them in the right frame of mind and play to take on a tilt at another championship.
The captain also thinks that the Power team is as likely to win as any other year.
"Our chances are as good as ever; last night was a good battle for us it was good to have a tough run before the semi and final," she said.
As for another championship, the Power has spent all season with that in mind and is keen to deliver on the year long goal.
"We are looking forward to getting up to Mackay and we need to take care of Ipswich but we are confident of getting to Mackay and then bringing home another championship," Bibby said.
Gladstone Power 77 - Townsville Flames 76
Rachel Pryor - 19 pts, 7 rebounds
Natalie Hurst - 24 pts, 9 assists, 10 rebound
Diana Neves - 6 pts, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
Jessica Bibby - 17 pts, 4 assists
Amanda Beatson - 1 block
Rebecca Haynes - 7 pts, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3 steals
Katie Rose - 4 pts, 5 rebounds