O’Sullivan’s courage helps team survive scare

IPSWICH-bred basketballer Lauren O'Sullivan was surprised to hear she contributed 17 rebounds to go with 16 vital points in a nailbiting QBL quarter-final victory.

However, such is the focus of O'Sullivan that she was more concerned about winning a tense game than checking the stats.

The 21-year-old played a major role in Ipswich's 70-64 win over the determined Northside Wizards on Saturday night at Ipswich stadium.

"Oh really . . . woo," a startled O'Sullivan responded when told of her powerhouse individual performance.

"That's a good effort but the only reason why I got those points and why I got those rebounds was everyone did their job.

"It was a good team effort."

Along with American import Brandi Brown and the ever-reliable Courtney Taylor, O'Sullivan produced a number of pressure plays to keep her team in the game.

O'Sullivan rated it one of the tightest and most exciting QBL games she had been involved with.

"It got a bit close but we held it together, fought it out so it was a good win," O'Sullivan said, also thanking the Ipswich crowd.

"We've had a lot more support, we've had a lot more people down at the games and our team has really gelled together.

"It's a good atmosphere."

In a seesawing match, Ipswich trailed by two points at quarter-time and were behind by one point at halftime before levelling the scores at 54-54 at the third change.

With Force's number one scorer Chelsie Schweers being smothered every time she attempted to score, it took O'Sullivan, Brown and Taylor to get the job done.

Brown opened with a three-pointer and fittingly scored with 17 seconds left to push Force 68-64 up.

Seconds earlier, Taylor nailed a three-pointer that gave Force a crucial 66-62 lead.

O'Sullivan displayed plenty of desperation, too, diving at times to secure the ball and powering at the basket to secure vital two-pointers.

"Everyone really stepped up and did what they had to do,'' she said.

"We had to stay composed and get it done. We did."

O'Sullivan said she was enjoying playing a more senior role, having learnt from previous QBL seasons alongside national league players like Emma Langford and Nadeen Payne.

After some back issues, O'Sullivan is regaining her best form when it matters most. "I really worked hard at the start of the season to make sure I was fit and doing everything right," she said. "I feel really good."

High emotion

"EXCITEMENT'' is the word Ipswich Force workhorse Lauren O'Sullivan used to describe how she felt after her team's quarter-final victory.

Although surviving a scare from Northside, O'Sullivan believes Ipswich can prepare for the semi-final with high hopes.

"We're a stronger team than we were last year but a lot of people still doubt us,'' she said.

"We have a lot of home-grown talent so it is good."

O'Sullivan typifies that famous Ipswich heart and team spirit.

"I love playing here," she said. "Everyone is so good."

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