Sore Langford 'fine' to fire up
IPSWICH Force's international player Emma Langford took care of her left ankle all week after tweaking it in her team's quarter-final victory.
She's confident of playing her usual impact role in tonight's state league semi-final in Mackay.
"It's been sore during the week but it's going to be fine," Langford said.
"I'll strap it up pretty good.
"I had a lot of trouble with it last season actually but after I hurt it on Saturday night, it's all right.
"It's better than I was expecting."
Langford played on until the last quarter after getting some treatment in the second term of Ipswich's 86-61 quarter-final win over Northside.
However, the power forward knows she'll need to absorb any pain against quality Gladstone opponents like her national training camp teammate Natalie Hurst and three-point specialist Jessica Bibby.
"They're a great team with a lot of great shooters and a lot of big guns," Langford, 24, said.
"Hopefully we can do a defensive job, pressure them and match them offensively."
Tonight is former South Australian Langford's first semi-final with the Force, having played in last year's quarter-final.
"I am excited," she said, having missed Ipswich's semi-final two years ago when she was on Australian duty at the World University Games in China.
Langford recently returned from her third World University Games.
Her latest stint was in Russia where the Aussies beat Taiwan 99-58 in Kazan to win the bronze medal.
"They (the World Uni Games) are all a little bit different but always great experiences," the 185cm Force co-captain and Logan Women's National Basketball League player said.
"I had a lot of fun, really enjoyed it.
"It was pretty amazing. The basketball stadiums were getting packed out.
"We only lost by one point to the USA in the semi-final so we were close."
Chasing glory with a team tonight will be more familiar. A number of the Force girls have played together for a few seasons.
"You get pumped just the same," Langford said of the difference between a Force road trip and preparing to represent Australia.
Gladstone qualified for tonight's semi-final after beating Townsville 77-76 in their quarter-final last weekend.
Force coach Brad George said the full squad was making the trip north this morning.
Tonight: QBL semi-finals: Ipswich v Gladstone at 8.30pm after Mackay play Brisbane at 6.30pm. Both games in Mackay.
The winner of tonight's semi-finals play in tomorrow night's grand final.
Awards: Ipswich Force forward Nadeen Payne had the QBL women's leading free throw percentage (87.9) and was named QBL women's under-23 player of the year. Former Ipswich resident Toni Caldwell was named QBL female referee of the year.