The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames kept their unbeaten run in the National Women’s Basketball League alive on Saturday night, but not before Bendigo Spirit took them to the wire at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre.
Flames forward Amy Denson landed a basket four seconds from time to help the hosts to a nail-biting 71-69 win. The Flames and Townsville Fire are the only unbeaten teams after five games of the 2011-12 WNBL season.
It was a fitting finish for Denson, who posted a game-high 32 points to go with 13 rebounds in a dominant performance. Team-mates Alicia Poto and Katie-Rae Ebzery also added 16 points apiece for the Flames, who were down by 13 points at the first break.
The Bendigo Spirit were led by Tess Madgen, who finished with 21 points and seven assists, Kristi Harrower, who added 20 points and six assists, and Deanna Smith with 18 points.
The Spirit shot out to a 13-point lead in the first quarter behind a 21-8 start to the game.
However, the Flames held them to just nine total second quarter points, while they piled on 30 to lead 52-40 at the main break. Amy Denson had 20 points at the half for the Flames.
The Spirit began the second half as they did the first, reversed the Flames’ momentum, and levelled the scores at 65-all at the final break.
The final term was a low-scoring affair in which the biggest margin was just three points either way throughout. Amy Denson tied scores at 69-69 with 57 seconds remaining and hit the game-winning basket with just four seconds remaining.
Flames coach Karen Dalton was rightly pleased with the result. “We had a target of finishing the month 4-1, with a couple of road trips thrown in,” she said. “We’re 5-0, so that’s obviously made it better.”
The Flames will be looking to make it 6-0 when they take on AIS at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre on Saturday night, with tip-off scheduled for 7pm.
Sydney Uni Flames 81 (Amy Denson 32, Alicia Poto 16, Katie-Rae Ebzery 16) defeated Bendigo Spirit 79 (Tess Madgen 21, Kristi Harrower 20, Deanna Smith 18).