'Hurting' Force women want to feed off vocal Rocky crowd
BASKETBALL: She's the loyal Ipswich Force leader who endures the team's highs and lows more than anyone.
She has to cop the sprays from an unhappy coach and try to understand why a team so rich in experience and quality has stumbled at key times.
However, Bree Farley has never shirked a major challenge.
She'll face one of the biggest tests of her career on Saturday night when Force play home side Rockhampton in a Queensland Basketball League quarter-final.
"The crowd is going to be there as well so I don't think we'll need too much revving up,'' Farley said, having been a part of every Force final game over the past five state league seasons.
"We'll be ready to go, and especially for a final, anything can happen.''
After leading competition leaders Southern Districts by 16 points last weekend before losing 86-84, Farley conceded some serious soul-searching was done this week.
"After a game, you reflect and try to figure out and what you could do differently and what you could change,'' Farley, 28, said.
"We were all hurting quite a bit after that. Putting ourselves in such a good position and not managing to come away with the win.
"We've got to let that go and just take this next game as a new game.''
She said having Southern Districts on the ropes and not winning was the disappointing part.
"We believe that we can match any team in the competition . . . and really compete . . . even being undermanned,'' she said.
"You just have to take that out of the weekend that's a huge positive.
"Hopefully if a couple of things go a little bit differently, the result changes and you come up with a win.''
This year, Force qualified for the playoffs in seventh place after finishing the regular season in second last year.
However, former national league player Farley said the focus was the same heading to Rockhampton.
"Your mindset going into the final every year is do-or-die so it hasn't really changed,'' she said.
"We're just looking forward to putting our best foot forward and getting a win on Saturday to move forward in finals.''
Last year, Force were left with a bare core group after losing players to college and overseas commitments.
This year, Force have lost young guns Grace Ellis and Catherine Macgregor to similar situations on top of having import Kaili McLaren ruled out with a knee injury.
Despite that extra pressure, Farley remained confident in her teammates' ability, being surrounded by proven performers like Amanda Johnson, Amy Lewis, Rachel Mate and Georgia Ralph.
"We always give it a good fight and we're all excited just to get out and play,'' she said.
"We have got a good attitude going into the game.
"The difference probably is that we are travelling this year as opposed to having a home final.''
The Force team will fly out on Saturday morning, before completing their final lead-up for the match.
"Being mentally prepared is the biggest challenge on players,'' she said.
"Just in regular season, they (Rockhampton) always have a really good crowd turn up and support them so the atmosphere is always pretty electric and it's an exciting game for us to be a part of.
"We just have to stay together and use the crowd to our advantage and use that energy to play together for the full 40 minutes.''
QBL women's quarter-final: Saturday (7pm) - Ipswich Force v Rockhampton in Rockhampton.