WNBL 2014/15: Townsville Fire crowned Champions!
The Townsville Fire have finally secured their first ever WNBL Championship after defeating modern rivals Bendigo Spirit 75-65 on Sunday afternoon.
After a tense opening half, the Fire took command of the match throughout the second quarter and gave the 2,000 strong Townsville crowd something to finally celebrate.
Their maiden title was even more deserving, allowing retiring captain Rachael McCully her first championship after 15 years in the league.
McCully led her team from the front, dishing out a game high nine assists, despite not connecting on any of her seven field goal attempts.
The star of the show however, was Mia Newley who erupted for 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists on her way to the Rachael Sporn medal (Grand Final MVP).
Townsville's star studded team took a step back allowing the unlikely Newley to put her name in the spotlight.
Teammates Suzy Batkovic (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Cayla Francis (7 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks) certainly made their efforts felt inside the paint.
For the Spirit, it was third time unlucky as their 'three-peat' attempt fell one step short.
Despite leading at the first change, Bendigo couldn't get a grasp on how many Townsville stars were putting their bodies on the line for championship glory.
Belinda Snell fired herself out of the blocks with a host of quick points, before finishing with 17 for the game.
She was helped tremendously by captain Gabe Richards who registered a double double with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Richards told media after the game:
"Two out of three ain't bad" - Gabe Richards
However, it was Townsville's weekend, in fact, Townsville's season through and through. Newley was over the moon post-game and couldn't say a bad word about her teammates this season:
"We worked so hard for this and I'm so happy we could do it today. It's very hard to let sentiment get in the way but it was in the back of our minds that we wanted to send our captain off the right way." - Mia Newley
Here ends another cracking season of WNBL and we were proud to be one of many who could bring you all the news and results. Until next season, stay with us when we track progress across various State Leagues this Winter.