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Brydens Sydney Uni Flames start the 2013-14 Women’s National Basketball season tonight with a new sponsor, a new roster, a new stadium and renewed hope of clinching the elusive title.

The Flames’ season starts with a road trip, incorporating a WNBL opener against Bendigo Spirit at the Bendigo RSL Stadium tonight, followed by a game against Melbourne Boomers (formerly Bulleen) at the State Basketball Centre in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.

Long-term Sydney Uni Flames coach Karen Dalton used the recent Spring Shield tournament in Dandenong to hone new combinations, welcome two American imports to the roster and provide game time for some of the younger recruits.

“It was a good opportunity to introduce Ashley Gayle and Kathleen Scheer to the WNBL,” Dalton said of the American imports.

“They both commented on the pace the games were played at and the style. It was much quicker than they’ve been used to.”

Gayle, a 193cm University of Texas graduate is coming off a season in Bulgaria, while Scheer, a graduate of Duke University had a six-game WNBL stint with Bendigo in 2011-12 before suffering an injury and returning to the US for treatment.

The Flames best effort in the Spring Shield was their second round clash with the eventual tournament winners, Dandenong Rangers. The Rangers held off a late Sydney Uni Flames charge to record a 74-70 result.

Dalton has had the team training hard since then for their opener tonight.

Fans of the Flames will able to see the new roster when they christen their new stadium at Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre with a Game 3 encounter against Dandenong Rangers at 7.30pm on Friday, October 11.

They follow that with another home game, against Bendigo Spirit, at 7.30pm on Friday, October 18.

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