Townsville Fire take on the Melbourne in the WNBL
Watch as the Townsville Fire take on the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL Preliminary Finals at the Townsville Entertainment Centre.
Townsville guard Kate Gaze does not believe the Fire have an over-reliance on their superstar duo, rather the rest of the side need to find consistency in the execution of their roles.
The home town outfit will have to navigate their way to the WNBL grand final the hard way, when they face the Melbourne Boomers tonight for the right the challenge the Southside Flyers.
Against the minor premiers on Wednesday night, Townsville aces Lauren Nicholson and Shyla Heal set about rebuilding after a poor first quarter across the court.
Each finished with 30 points, however the difference ended up being the spread of scorers in the Flyers line up - with four of their starters reaching double digits.
It proved pivotal in the 106-93 defeat, but Gaze said it was not a frustration, nor a flaw, in the Fire's play style.
Rather it was a lack of execution - particularly in the first quarter - which cost them dearly.
"They were getting great looks, they were making tough baskets and they were being aggressive," Gaze said.
"I don't think it's frustrating at all, we missed a few easy bunnies underneath but that's what they do - they're scorers, they love to get to the basket, they love to make big shots.
"We encourage that, if we can do anything to help them, try to make the defence guard us on the outside then hit our open shots when we get the ball that's what we need to do.
"Yes we rely on Loz and Shy a lot for our scoring, but we've shown this season we're a great team together and we get them the ball when they're open.
"We work to get them good shots, so I think we can give it to them next game as long as we get on the front foot."
Hope is not lost for Townsville in their quest to regain the WNBL trophy.
Given they trailed 41-25 at the first break, the fight never left the Fire and Gaze said they needed to bottle what they found from the second quarter onwards.
Fortunately, the orange and black brigade are yet to lose consecutive matches, and their gutsy display against the Boomers in the final round of the campaign will instil plenty of confidence.
When they last took on Melbourne, an off night from Heal coincided with strong performances from the rest of the group - Gaze among them with 11 points and five assists to her credit.
Gaze said the winning culture had returned to Townsville basketball, and that was a factor they needed to remember.
"We bounce back really well, back to the drawing board then we have to look at Melbourne," she said.
"They're going to want redemption, so we need to play like we did the other night and come out firing.
"We've got to learn for a few things we stuffed up in that game, and come into Friday with a fresh mind.
"We've got to be hungry, we put ourselves in this great position to have the second chance - it's here and we have to take full advantage of that."
Originally published as Fire leader ensures they are no two-player show