Cambage takes Flyers to WNBL grand final

Liz Cambage scored 31 points to steer the Southside Flyers to the WNBL grand final.
Liz Cambage scored 31 points to steer the Southside Flyers to the WNBL grand final.

The Southside Flyers are through to the WNBL grand final after a standout display from Liz Cambage lifted them to a 106-93 win over the Townsville Fire in Wednesday night's major semi-final.

Cambage starred with 31 points and 18 rebounds, while Rebecca Cole (22 points) and Leilani Mitchell (19 points) were also influential in a hot display from the minor premiers.

Townsville's teenage star Shyla Heal was sensational with 30 points, seven assists and four steals, while Lauren Nicholson also drained 30 points to continue her hot form.

But with Zitina Aokuso (11 points) the only other Fire player to hit double figures, Townsville didn't have the firepower to match the Opal-laden Flyers.

The result means Townsville will now have to play the Melbourne Boomers in Friday's preliminary final, with the winner meeting the Flyers in Sunday's title decider.

"It feels good. That was a tough one tonight," Cambage told Fox Sports after the match.

"It's been a hell of a year, so it would be so great to end it on this note (by winning the grand final) and go and celebrate it in Melbourne."

The Flyers produced a remarkable shooting display in the opening term, nailing their opening 10 shots on the way to a 41-25 lead at the first break.

Mitchell was particularly damaging, sinking a series of long bombs to stun the pro-Townsville crowd.

Heal and Nicholson did their best to keep their side in the match.

But with the Flyers' three-point blitz continuing early in the second quarter, the lead swelled to 19 points and alarm bells were well and truly ringing.

Coach of the year Shannon Seebohm called a time-out and implored his Fire players to put more pressure on the star-studded Flyers shooters.

His charges duly responded with a 13-2 run to close the margin to a manageable eight points at half-time.

Cambage was breathing fire in the opening half, venting her frustrations at a series of non-calls by the referees.

The star Opal had a solid 11 points to her name at the long break, and she lifted her output in the second half to ensure Townsville trailed by double figures for most of the rest of the match.

Cambage thrived on the heckling from the crowd and in the dying minutes cupped her hand to her ear after making a free-throw shot.

Australian Associated Press