A new season brought about a new feel, new look and most impressively, a new home for the Townsville Fire.
The brand-new Townsville RSL Arena opened with the Fire hosting a star-studded Bendigo Spirit, with both teams eager to get their WNBL finals aspirations off to the perfect start.
It was an on-court battle led by the respective veteran point guards, with Rachael Flanagan eager to impress in front of a massive home crowd against her long-time rival and Jayco Opals legend Kristi Harrower.
Nothing could separate the two teams in the first three quarters as American import Shanavia Dowdell shined on debut with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals, while Bendigo star Gabrielle Richards was dominant amassing an impressive stats line of 22 points (8-of-11 shooting) and 10 rebounds.
Holding a one-point lead heading into the final quarter the game was looking for a hero. Enter rookie Micaela Cocks.
The Kiwi had made her name at the University of Oregon and was already well established in the New Zealand national team before her first season in the WNBL, showing her poise and skill from outside with back-to-back three pointers to send the home fans into raptures and make the first WNBL game at the new stadium one to remember.
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