WHEN the Bundaberg Bears left home Friday bound for Brisbane the importance of earning two wins on the road could not have been said enough.
In danger of slipping down the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) ladder after three losses, the Bears needed to bounce back.
And bounce back they did.
In a road-trip double the under-strength Bears came home with a comfortable 72-55 win over Northside and a gritty 89-85 victory over Brisbane to improve to a 7-5 win-loss record.
Bundaberg was in danger of losing top spot in Pool B, and the right to host a semi-final if results didn't go it way, but the performance of Brookilyn Pope ensured the Bears dug their claws in to hang on.
Pope was the star for Bundaberg in the win over Northside with a double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds), but it was her performance in the four-point win over Brisbane that showed her class.
Getting back to the form that saw her as a starter for the Baylor Lady Bears in their 2011-2012 NCAA championship-winning season, Pope was sensational.
With a team-high 35 points and 19 rebounds Pope was the star of the game. Her defensive work was awesome and she backed it up at the other end of the court shotting at 66% from the field.
Pope wasn't the game's highest scorer - that title went to a former Bundaberg Bear.
D'Lesha Lloyd scored 36 points in a great performance to cause the Bears problems all night.
Caitlin Clancy, Kellie Page and Cheshi Poston were the other Bears to make an impact.
The Bulls' results were not as positive and the men remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder after two losses, 97-56 to Northside and 133-85 to Brisbane.
In the 48-point loss to Brisbane all the starters reached double figures with Ricky James (26) and Willie Shackleford (21) leading the way for the Bulls.
If the players thought the weekend was tough they can expect the difficulty to pick up a level in round 11 starting Saturday.
Bundaberg travel to Mackay for a Friday night game before a Sunday match against the Suncoast Clippers.