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Townsville off to winning start

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Two-time reigning premiers Townsville Fire kicked off their bid for a WNBL threepeat with an 84-62 win over Perth Lynx on Sunday.

In a replay of last year's grand final, the Fire were again too strong with reigning MVP Suzy Batkovic tipping in 25 points and Mia Murray scoring 16.

Batkovic, who was surprisingly overlooked for Opals selection at the Rio Olympics, said the Fire were comfortable going into the season as the team to beat.

"We have definitely had a target on our back for a long time now," Batkovic said.

"I don't feel the pressure. It's a challenge and I love it. I would rather have a challenging game than a blow out game."

Natalie Burton gathered eight rebounds and two blocks in a solid defensive effort for the Lynx, who started their season with a win over the Sydney Flames on Friday.

The Lynx converted 53 per cent of their shots from beyond the arc against Sydney but fell well short of that against Townsville, managing just 27 per cent.

Elsewhere, forward Alice Kunek (21 points) helped Melbourne launch their season with a 74-69 win over the Adelaide Lightning on Sunday.

Four-time Olympian Laura Hodges had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Lightning, who went down 77-63 in their season-opener against Bendigo Spirit.

Dandenong Rangers claimed a nailbiting 71-69 win over the University of Canberra Capitals in the other game of the round.

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