Power a different team
BASKETBALL: Gladstone Port City Power women's coach Ray Cooper knows exactly what to expect against Brisbane Spartans in Saturday night's knock-out final.
When the two teams met way back on June 3 when the Spartans torched Power 95-57, it seemed it was going to be a long season for the Gladstone team.
Not so and they are one win away from a grand final berth against either Mackay Meteorettes or Logan Thunder.
"After we played them last time we knew that we didn't play our best and if we got an opportunity again to verse them, it's going to be a different result,” Cooper said of Saturday's 6pm clash in Brisbane.
"We are also a totally different team and we have improved so much since then. If we are disciplined offensively and defensively we are going to be in a very good position towards the end of the game to win. It will be a bit of grind but that's play-off basketball.”
Spartans had 11 point-scorers of the 12 who wore the Spartans uniform in that June blow-out and while they have a big bench, the Power pack a punch with its starting five.
"They're the deepest team in the final four with seven of the players having WNBL experience which you normally don't see on rosters in the QBL,” Cooper said.
"It will be hard to shut down any particular player, so it will be an effort individually to know your match up and be accountable for it.
"It will also be a team effort with everyone working together at once to be able to get stops and slow them down.”
Here are more questions Observer sports reporter Nick Kossatch asked Cooper
NK:What's the feeling like and is there a 'nothing to lose' mindset v Spartans?
RC: Feeling has been great this week knowing that we have worked hard and the results are paying off. We are ready and the energy has been great. Not so much as nothing to lose, more like there's no pressure on us and all pressure on the Spartans as they haven't dropped a game all year and we are the in form team coming into the match which makes it a very dangerous game for the Spartans.
NK: Where do you think Power can exploit them?
RC: Being such a tight group I would say sticking together which helps out a lot. We are use to winning close games and pressure situations. In saying that it will be a physical game so we will have to be mentally prepared for it. Shows last week in there quarter final verse South West they didn't get to the free throw line at all the whole game which is a bit hard to believe so not sure if they were ready for a battle or the refs let it play a bit but, we will just have to adjust on the night.
NK: Hoping for more Tabatha Richardson-Smith magic and big contributions from 'lesser lights' such as Moy Subritzky, Dalen Pilitati etc?
RC: It's going to have to be a huge game from everyone and not just the players, but also the coaching staff and making sure we are all on the same page. We have had everyone step up at one stage during the season so I expect everyone to do it for this game. We will have to leave everything out on the court and we can't finish the game with what-ifs or should-ofs.