Sport

Home crowd the best

GRAND STAND SUPPORT: Powers' Kayla Kiriau with the huge crowd behind her.
GRAND STAND SUPPORT: Powers' Kayla Kiriau with the huge crowd behind her. Paul Braven GLA250519WBBALL

BASKETBALL: Gladstone Port City Power coach Ray Cooper declared the raucous Kev Broome Stadium home crowd as influential.

The Power women take on Townsville Flames in what is expected to be a blockbuster quarter-final from 6pm today.

"You know, the Gladstone home crowd is the best home crowd we ever have especially in the state league,” he said.

"Every other venue we've been to it's like playing in front of crickets kind of thing and it's very quiet in there and not much atmosphere.

"That just goes to prove that our game last Sunday had a huge crowd and everyone gets behind them and understands and know when the big play is.

"The obviously know when to boo the refs as well.”

Cooper added the atmosphere is designed to make it as uncomfortable for the opposition as possible.

"That's huge and that just plays onto the other team coming into the quarter-final,” he said.

"No-one likes to come and play here.”

But the crowd are not the players on court and Cooper cautioned that the Flames bat deep despite missing the services of stare centre Darcee Garbin who has World University Games commitments.

"They're one of the deepest teams in the league, not with the skill base as well, but the maturity of their team having players who have played in big games before,” Cooper said.

Tabatha Richardson-Smith has been unstoppable for most of the season, but she has plenty of helpers with the likes of centre Cassie Rochel, captain Charmian Mellars, Kayla Kiriau and Moengaroa Subritzky.

Richardson-Smith knocked down 42 and 40 points respectively to torch the Flames during the regular season.

Townsville Flames coach Mike St-Maurice laughed that Richardson-Smith was 'contained'.

"She's a bit of a dynamite (player), we held her to 42 on both occasions,” St-Maurice told the Townsville Bulletin.

'We'll have to do a better job than that, but she's not the only one.

"Cassie Rochel is dangerous, Charmian Mellars scored 15 against us and 12 rebounds, so we can't let everyone go off.

"We have to lock down and have some individual accountability in those match-ups.”

St-Maurice shared Cooper's testaments about the home crowd.

"They'll be quite loud, they'll be quite boisterous and really in your face from the start,” St-Maurice said.

"They cheer throughout the home game whether we're winning or losing.”

Tickets for the game can be reserved by emailing powertickets@gladstonebball.com or will be available at the door from 5pm today.

Topics:  basketball queensland gladstone amateur basketball association gladstone port city power nba nbl basketball qbl finals townsville flames wnbl



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