The Rangers overturned a seven-point deficit in the last quarter to defeat Townsville 77-66 in the WNBL minor semi-final in Dandenong.
The hosts trailed 65-58 with just over seven minutes to go, but outscored the fading Fire 19-1 over the remainder of the game, notching the last 13 points.
The Rangers, who have won seven straight games, will play the preliminary final against minor premier Adelaide, which they beat by 20 and 31-point margins in their past two encounters.
The Fire, coming off a midweek elimination final home win over Sydney, missed their last nine field goal attempts.
Jenna O'Hea topscored for the Rangers with 24, but it was Canadian centre Krista Phillips who shone brightest for the home team.
She tallied 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
Phillips also shut down Shanavia Dowdell after half-time, the American scoring just two of her 16 points after the long break.
With Dowdell and Jess Foley (six points from two of 11 field goal attempts) struggling, it was teenager forward Nadeen Payne who kept the Fire competitive.
The Australian junior representative scored 18 points in just under 22 minutes.
The Rangers led by three at the first break and one at half-time.
There were seven lead changes in the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter before the Fire logged nine straight points and led by six at three-quarter time.
AAPTags: wnbl, basketball, sport, dandenong-3175 First posted February 26, 2012 18:28:14