Kim Ravaillion produced a stand-out performance against Silver Fern Laura Langman in the Queensland Firebird’s 58-50 win over the Northern Mystics.
If Queensland Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion was feeling any nerves about facing Silver Ferns counterpart Laura Langman on Sunday, she certainly didn’t show it.
Ravaillion, Jacinta Messer, Gabi Simpson and skipper Laura Geitz were outstanding defensively in their side’s 58-50 win over the Northern Mystics in the trans-Tasman clash at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
The hoodoo continued for the Auckland-based Mystics, who have failed to beat the Firebirds in eight attempts.
They gave the home side a fright when they reduced a 10-goal deficit at three-quarter-time to just three points with five minutes remaining.
Diamonds centre Ravaillion, who was named as the MVP on Sunday, revealed she had been working on her defence at training during the week after she was pulled up for numerous penalties in last weekend’s loss to the NSW Swifts.
“I really wanted to tidy that up, actually get some ball and not get caught up in the physicality of it all,” Ravaillion, 20, said.
Asked whether she had a sleepless night thinking about her intimidating match-up with Langman, Ravaillion said: “Last night I wasn’t really thinking about it.
“I was just watching a movie and thinking about my Mum coming up from Sydney.”
The third quarter was the key for the Firebirds, who scored 16 goals and restricted the Mystics to just nine.
Mystics goal attack Maria Tutaia was well contained, shooting 20 goals from 24 attempts, while goal shooter and fellow Kiwi international Cathrine Latu scored a perfect 30 from 30 in a losing side.
Tutaia attributed the loss to “marginal individual errors” but said she was proud of her team’s fightback in the final quarter.
“We’ve come a long way from where we were at the beginning of the season,” the Mystics skipper said.
“The fact that we’re making gains each week is great.”
Last weekend, the Mystics produced a huge upset of the Adelaide Thunderbirds but against the Firebirds they suffered from 51 contact penalties in an ill-disciplined performance.
Tutaia said she was “stunned” to learn that the Mystics conceded 21 penalties to the Firebirds’ nine in the third quarter alone.
“You have to play smart because you know that the Aussies are fit and fast,” she said.
“We know that we’re expected to be human backpacks here because they’re on you the whole time.”
For the Firebirds, goal attack Amorette Wild (16/22) helped steady the ship in the final quarter as her partnership with ace shooter Romelda Aiken (35/41) continues to blossom.