Fire skipper stands tall in win
COMETH the hour, cometh the woman.
Just days after being crowned the WNBL MVP for the sixth time, Townsville Fire skipper Suzy Batkovic has inspired her side to a 2-1 grand final series victory over the Melbourne Boomers.
The 37-year-old was named the Rachael Sporn Medallist after an incredible series which saw her average 23.33 points and 12 rebounds across the three games.
The grand final MVP was the only individual award Batkovic had yet to claim despite her five championships and taking home six of the past seven player of the year awards.
Batkovic saved her best performance for the title decider with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists to come out on top in the blockbuster clash with Boomers star Liz Cambage (18 points, 9 rebounds).
The capacity Townsville crowd did their best to make a villain of Cambage, booing her every time she took the floor after she only narrowly avoided suspension for contact on Batkovic in game two.
Batkovic admitted it had been a tough grind in the first WNBL grand final series to go to three games and the Fire skipper credited her team mates for helping her perform at such a high level.
"I was just so happy for the girls that we finally got what we set out to do. I am getting a little bit older and I know how hard we have to work to get here," Batkovic said.
"Liz is a phenomenal player and she's a big body so it is tiring combating her, especially three games in a row. For me, I was just staying in every moment and just locking down as best as I could.
"I knew I had my work cut out, but I'm lucky to have amazing team mates who stepped up to help me do that.
"I just felt like we worked really well together defensively and that was our biggest thing. That's what we went in focused on.
"I haven't won it (grand final MVP) before, but I haven't really cared too much because we'd won the championship.
"The biggest thing for me was to bring that trophy back to North Queensland."
Fire coach Claudia Brassard said the grand final MVP was a deserved honour for Batkovic who has been an inspirational leader for her side all season.
"Suzy's an unbelievable player. She's obviously ageless with the way that she battles and she did such a good job battling Lizzie and that's not easy by any means," Brassard said.
"She was producing for us at both ends of the floor and the season she's had has been incredible.
"She wouldn't have been happy with game one, but she came out and had blinders in games two and three. That's just the type of player she is.
"I'm just really happy for her that she finally won that medal."