Launceston Tornadoes almost got left in the cold on Friday night, coach Richard Dickel saying extreme chilly conditions inside Canberra’s AIS Training Hall froze his shooters out of the game.
But an improbable first-half defensive display had ensured the visitors notched a morale-boosting 62-55 win.
Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence stunningly scored just three points in the first quarter and added just 10 more by half-time.
“It’s the girls buying into what we’re trying to do and understanding what we’re doing defensively. That’s why I’ve said before we can’t just expect teams to miss from the outside,” Dickel said.
“They did miss but the majority of the shots were contested and they were given the ball in situations they weren’t comfortable in.
“We went away from it a little bit in the third quarter, but we got back to it when it really mattered.”
But New Zealand-raised Dickel believed his Tasmanian players struggled under a colder than normal roof.
Captain Lauren Mansfield shot 22 points, Tayla Roberts 18 and Olivia Chugg 12 in a tough night offensively
“It’s always tough when it’s really cold to shoot as well – especially when you’re not used to it,” Dickel said.
The Tornadoes had been restricted to just 14, 14 and then 10 in each of the first three quarters until warming up to the winter’s night in the nation’s capital to finish strongly with 24 points.
The COE side trimmed the margin back to five at the final change before the lead was pushed back out to 11 points midway in the last.
“People don’t realise even when you’re breathing in cold air and not feeling the end of your fingertips, how it affects you,” he said.
“Sometimes it can be a real advantage, but we haven’t come across that in any of our trainings this year.
“I think we struggled with that, but we won the game.”
But Dickel said the Torns were their own worse enemy.
Turnovers doubled from a season average of barely 13 per game to a season-high 26.
“That’s not really acceptable,” Dickel said, “but there were good signs defensively for us and we’re at least happy with that.”