LEADING EFFORT: Ipswich Force’s top scorer Nadeen Payne takes charge of the court during Saturday night’s quarter-final victory.
LEADING EFFORT: Ipswich Force’s top scorer Nadeen Payne takes charge of the court during Saturday night’s quarter-final victory. Rob Williams

Force rebounds into semi-finals

WHEN the chips are down, you form a team circle and get angry.

That's exactly what the Ipswich Force women did to recover from a poor start to win Saturday night's state league quarter-final at Ipswich stadium.

The Force advanced to Friday night's semi-final against Gladstone in Mackay after their comfortable 86-61 victory over Northside Wizards.

However, trailing 22-7 in the first quarter, something was needed to spark the Force women into action.

"We just come together in a huddle and the coaches get a bit angry," leading pointscorer Nadeen Payne said.

"We're a team with lots of character and fight, and that's what we always seem to do - come back from behind."

Payne, 20, did a dance entering the dressingroom after delivering a valuable 28 points to reach her first state league semi-final with Ipswich.

"It was awesome. It was such a great feeling," the dependable forward said.

"It was great. I really wanted to win today and I know all the girls wanted to win."

However, she knows Force can't repeat their sluggish start in the semi-final.

"If we play like that against Gladstone next week, we won't be able to recover," she said.

Force coach Brad George agreed.

"They took a while to wake up, which we can't afford to do against Gladstone, the game will be over," George said.

"It's frustrating. But they show good character. They don't give up."

After Northside shot well in the first quarter, Force regained their defensive tempo in the second and third quarters to lead 67-44 heading into the final stanza.

Guards Marney George (nine points) and Courtney Taylor (12) provided valuable contributions at key times.

George nailed three, three-pointers and the speedy Taylor was dangerous working up the middle.

Peta Eddington also showed plenty of determination on the rebounds.

With Force coasting to victory, the coach gave bench players Raihania Ratana, Sherridan Wilson and Jess Taylor a run in the final two minutes.

The crowd roared seeing Ipswich's depth finish the job.

"Overall, I'm pretty happy," George said of Ipswich's season preparing for a semi-final shot.

"I got everyone a run. That is always a good sign before finals and we got to where we want to be in the final weekend."

State of Play

QBL quarter-final: Ipswich Force 86 (Nadeen Payne 28, Emma Langford 19) d Northside Wizards 61 (Ashley Wilson 23).

Ipswich Force play Gladstone Power in Friday night's semi-final (8.30pm) in Mackay. Gladstone beat Townsville 77-76 in their quarter-final.

The other semi-final features Mackay and Brisbane.

The winning teams play in Saturday night's grand final.



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