GRACE Rodgers wants to carry form from a career-best performance into her maiden NBL1 North finals campaign.
The former Warrnambool Mermaid drained 18 points and reeled in eight rebounds for Townsville Flames in their penultimate regular season game.
Rodgers, who will suit up for the Flames' final game against Cairns Dolphins on Saturday night, said she had settled into the competition which is just one tier below the nationwide WNBL.
She arrived at the Flames in the pre-season after moving to Queensland from Victoria.
The James Cook University student has relished the chance to play in the NBL1 competition after developing via the Big V.
"It definitely is a higher level but it's been so much fun," Rodgers told The Standard.
"The team is so good, they're so supportive and I ended up being starting five for a little bit and that was very exciting for me because it was a higher level than I had normally played."
Rodgers, whose family is synonymous with Warrnambool's basketball scene, is playing centre, using her strengths in the post.
"The weekend just gone I had 18 points and eight rebounds and that's been my biggest game so far. I was very proud of that effort," she said.
"The people I play against are so much stronger because I am not used to the physicality.
"Back home I was always the big person but now I am playing women who are six-foot-four or six-foot-five, so I have to get stronger myself because I am much shorter."
The NBL1 North women's conference consists 16 teams.
Townsville (15-3) sits third with one round to play.
"There has been a lot of travel - the furthest we've gone has been Darwin and we went to Brisbane a few weeks ago and the Sunshine Coast just last weekend," Rodgers said.
"We are currently on a (winning) streak and we're hoping to keep that going this weekend.
"I don't want to jinx it but I think we can be a championship contender."
Rodgers, whose parents Peter and Emma flew north for her first game in a Flames' jersey, said moving to Queensland had been the right choice for her.
"I love it up here. It is warm all the time, I don't have to wear my hoodies and jumpers throughout the day, it's just shorts and t-shirts," she said.
Fellow south-west export Nicola Handreck has played 12 of a possible 17 games thus far for bottom-placed Sunshine Coast Phoenix.
The Portland export has averaged 14 points a game with a season-high of 30 and 20-plus points on a further three occasions.
Leah Bartlett, who hails from Terang, is averaging 12 minutes a game for NBL1 South side Hobart Chargers.
The Chargers (4-16) are 17th on a 19-team ladder.
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