STATISTICS alone don’t represent how crucial Renee Tuck was to Warrnambool Mermaids’ Big V semi-final victory last weekend.
Tuck is hoping to replicate her performance when the Mermaids take on Latrobe City Energy in a preliminary final tonight.
Tuck played arguably her best game of the season in the Mermaids’ 74-58 defeat of Hawthorn Magic.
The experienced guard finished with just nine points from 14 minutes, but hit back-to-back three-pointers when the contest was evenly balanced in the second term.
Her heroics turned a 27-23 lead into a 33-23 buffer and Warrnambool was on its way to victory.
However, Tuck took the acclaim in her stride.
“It’s nice to get on and hit some shots at a time when it’s needed,” she said.
“I’m enjoying sitting back and watching the young girls running around.
“I’m happy getting out and contributing where I can.”
Tuck is playing her first season with the Mermaids in a decade, having returned to the region after years abroad.
Life has changed considerably since the 29-year-old mother-of-one left Warrnambool, but the Big V competition has remained surprisingly familiar.
Current coach Lester Pickett was at the helm when she was a teenage Mermaid, while many of her former opponents are still playing.
“The league in general, the standard has risen but there are a lot of people still running around,” she said.
Tuck said she was happy being an experienced head in a young team.
“Between all of us older heads, it’s definitely beneficial for the young ones,” she said.
“This year we’ve got four older, more experienced ones, as well as the 16-year-olds who are going to be around for a couple of years.
“We’re looking good.”
Warrnambool topped the Terril conference with a 15-4 regular season record and enters the division one preliminary final favourite.
But Latrobe, second in the Watson conference with a 14-5 record, has lost just one game since round 10.
Warrnambool won the sides’ only clash this season 69-65, but almost threw away a 38-23 half-time lead.
Tip-off at the Arc is at 7pm.