Fun focus and respect generates a winning Force
WHEN a team captain is happy and everyone is sticking together, it's a terrific launching pad for success.
That's exactly the case for the Ipswich Force women's team, who are unbeaten after seven state league matches.
Preparing for a home court showdown with Townsville on Sunday, captain Bree Farley is delighted with how well her side is progressing.
"That's the perfect way to start a season,'' Farley said, in her fourth year with Ipswich.
"I can't remember starting off this well before so we're definitely on the right track to having a great season.''
Farley was thrilled how her team was gelling, especially since the arrival of this year's imports Amanda "AJ” Johnson and Gintare "Gigi'' Mazionyte.
Backed by a core of talented Ipswich-bred players led by the experienced Farley, Force's Aussie contingent have embraced the quality additions.
"Every year it's difficult because there's always new players in and different players out but I think we all just get along very well off and on the court,'' Farley said.
"So we've made the transition to having new imports come in and they've just clicked with the team really well.''
American AJ and Lithuanian Gigi have already made valuable contributions, scoring points under pressure and working with Ipswich's young brigade.
"They've got the respect from the other teammates. They work hard,'' Farley said.
"We're all going towards that one common goal and they are very easy to get along with off the court so it makes it fun to play together on the court.''
That's been a major reason why Ipswich is leading the Queensland Basketball League competition for the first time after seven games.
Holding out a desperate Logan side 93-79 last Sunday highlighted Force's steady progression.
"They really came back at us,'' she said of Logan. "We really stood up and came together and players stepped up as we needed them to so that was really rewarding for us.''
But with Women's National Basketball League experience, Farley knows it's too early to get carried away.
"We've got a really hard stretch coming,'' Farley said.
"Our draw for the end of the season is pretty hard so we'll get tested.
"It will be interesting to see how much we can stay together and really step up and win those big games.''
Farley, 27, welcomed one of those "big'' matches on Sunday - against the reputable Flames team at Llewellyn Stadium.
"Townsville are always a tough team and you know that they are never going to go away without a big fight,'' she said.
"These are the games that make a season interesting and they are the ones most rewarding to win.''
Farley offered more encouragement for her team.
"I don't think we've played our best yet,'' she said. "We've still got a bit of a ways to go but the fact that we've been still able to graft some games out and play through a bit of adversity and come home with seven wins is a really good start.
"We're definitely in a positive place and we're just hoping to keep that momentum going.
"We just love playing together so it's a good fun time for us, any time we get to play.''
While some players might enjoy the Ipswich Cup today, the team leader is focused on her Townsville encounter.
"I'm certainly having a pretty quiet weekend, getting ready for Sunday,'' she said.
The Ipswich Force men are chasing their third win of the season against Townsville in Sunday's 2pm match.
QBL Sunday: Noon - Ipswich Force women v Townsville Flames. 2pm: Ipswich Force men v Townsville Heat.
Both matches at Llewellyn Stadium, Booval.