Cougars look to continue perfect start

Brisbane North Cougars will aim to complete a clean sweep of Samsung QSNL Division 1 with a win over Brisbane West Lions tonight at Logan Metro Indoor Centre.

The fixture headlines the halfway point of a season which has seen the Cougars demolish every team in its path en route to a perfect 4-0 record.

However the Lions have emerged as worthy contenders, with Queensland Fusion stars Luci Benjamin, Tippah Dwan and Mia Henderson helping the blue and orange to three wins from their opening four matches.

Cougars star Tara Hinchliffe said she couldn’t wait to put her side’s perfect record on the line.

“It’s essentially Queensland Fusion’s attack end against Fusion’s defensive end. Bella Sorby and I could be on Tippah Dwan or Luci Benjamin, Mia Henderson could face up against Rylie Holland,” Hinchliffe said.

“It’s been a new line-up for the Cougars, but the culture that’s been passed on from the coaches and staff has been excellent. Our coach Liz White instills a belief in each other. We respect one another and know when we pass those balls that everyone is going to take it and do a job.

“I love taking on the other girls from the Fusion. It makes it so much more fun for all of us. It’s going to be a tight contest. We’ll leave nothing in the tank, shake hands at the end and go back to being best friends off the court.”

The Cougars have had two scares in the opening month of competition, coming from behind to defeat Golden South Jaguars and overturning a half-time deficit against Brisbane East Tigers.

Hinchliffe said her team had identified the key points they needed to improve.

“We have a slow first half, which we need to address. Against the Lions tonight we need to be strong for the whole four quarters and then build from there for the weeks following,” Hinchliffe said.

“We want to get better. It’s really exciting having our Fusion girls now back into the Cougars environment for the whole week. We’ll be able to connect more as a team.”

Lions coach Christine Voge said her side were ready to show they were true title contenders against the defending champions.

“We’ve started the season focused, despite the challenges of having many of our girls being part of the Fusion and Lightning set-ups,” Voge said.

“For the Lions it’s about building and having a good back end of the game. In all of our games this season we’ve had really solid starts. It’s really important to be able to deliver those performances early on, but we need to maintain it across the four quarters to be successful against Cougars.

“This is the game to do it. We’ve built through every game. We need to take confidence into tonight’s game that we’ve done the work and put out performances that can be great. We have the ability.”