Cyclones lose key player in first minute of game
BASKETBALL: The Rockhampton Cyclones were beaten by 14 points in the top-of-the-table clash but coach Chris Muggeridge was far from disheartened by the loss.
The Cyclones were dealt an early blow against the Southern District Spartans at Adani Arena on Friday night, losing star import G'mrice Davis to an ankle injury in the opening minute.
They were also without small forward Mary Goulding who was on international duties with the New Zealand Tall Ferns.
The second-placed Cyclones fought hard but went down 89-75 to the Spartans, who are 15 and 0 this season and looking to repeat their unbeaten run of 2017.
It was better news for the Rockhampton Rockets, who scored a 115-105 win over the Spartans.
Jamaal Robateau top scored with 25 points, while Shaun Bruce and Sean O'Mara both contributed 21 points apiece.
Muggeridge was sure that with a full squad the result would have been different but said the Cyclones did themselves no favours with a "ridiculous” number of turnovers.
He was also frustrated that the majority of the 50/50 calls seemed to go the way of the visitors, and his team finished with double the number of fouls.
"Turnovers killed us - 36 turnovers and 40 points from turnovers,” he said.
"I think that's the highest amount of turnovers we've had in any game ever so that was pretty disappointing.
"It's pretty tough when you lose one of your best players in the first 50 seconds of a game.
"But to only lose by 14 against an undefeated team with two superstars out of your team I think is a pretty good effort.
"I think we beat them every day with a full squad, they're not beating us.”
Davis is averaging about 22 points a game and 15 rebounds, while Goulding is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds.
Davis will have scans this week to determine the damage after x-rays showed no break in her ankle.
Muggeridge has his fingers crossed that she will only be sidelined for a few weeks and will be fit for the team's northern road trip in early August.
He again praised point guard Jess Thomas, who led the way with 36 points and seven rebounds.
"If we didn't have Jess here it would have been a really long night so I was very pleased with her game and everyone who hit the court. They tried extremely hard.
"We wanted to win that game more than anything and I felt that showed tonight.”
Muggeridge also made special mention of Caitlin Cunningham, who only returned to Rockhampton five hours before tip-off.
She worked tirelessly, playing 39 minutes, scoring 16 points and leading the rebounds with 16.
The Cyclones are at home again this weekend against the Brisbane Capitals. They will round out the regular season with away games against the Mackay Meteorettes and the Townsville Flames.
Muggeridge said that all going well with Davis, the road trip would be the first time he would have his full team together.
- Women: Southern District Lady Spartans 89 d Rockhampton Cyclones 75
- Men: Rockhampton Rockets 115 d Southern District Spartans 105