Forcing the point: QBL contenders need to lift game
BASKETBALL: It's the situation haunting the Ipswich Force women as they prepare for the state league playoffs.
Lack of consistency has been the team's major bugbear in recent Queensland Basketball League encounters.
Losing 78-71 to the Gold Coast at Carrara on Saturday night highlighted Ipswich's plight, so close to the finals.
"They (Gold Coast) got out to about an 18-point lead again,'' head coach Brad George said.
"It's the usual. We're just not playing 40 minutes, just playing in spurts off and on.''
George was looking for better shot selection, led by his senior players.
"We're just not consistent enough when the games are always so tight,'' he said.
"They have to be accountable for what they're doing.
"They (Gold Coast) just worked harder than us. They wanted it more. You could see that right from the word go.
"They (Force players) switch on, get it back to within six and then just start picking and choosing again.
"It's just so frustrating. It's been happening all season.''
Force's fifth loss from 16 games came despite another gutsy effort from Amanda "AJ" Johnson. The former Women's National Basketball League Sydney recruit scored 32 points with the experienced Amy Lewis still out, regular starter Rachel Mate ill and the loss of team enforcer Lauren O'Sullivan.
Georgia Ralph also toiled hard with Ipswich missing guards Mate and Lewis.
With two regular season matches left, Force slipped out of the top four in a congested battle for prime playoff spots.
However, they can strengthen their hopes in their final games against USQ (at the Sunshine Coast this weekend) before a final showdown with competition leaders Southern Districts at home.
The Ipswich Force men lost their latest away encounter 115-81 to the Gold Coast despite stand-in captain Kyle Harvey scoring 39 points.
Force battled hard in the second quarter after trailing 31-16 but never asserted any authority over one of the state league title contenders.
QBL men: Gold Coast 115 def Ipswich Force 81 (Kyle Harvey 39, Jayden Ferguson 11).
QBL women: Gold Coast 78 def Ipswich Force 71 (Amanda Johnson 32, Georgia Ralph 11).