Sydney University Flames kicked off their 2008-09 Women’s National Basketball League season with two wins from three matches at the Fiesta pre-season tournament in Shoalhaven over the weekend.

The Flames accounted for Logan Thunder 87-49 and the Australian Institute of Sport 78-65, but lost 83-81 to Canberra Capitals, the three-time WNBL champions, in a promising start to the season.

Evan Afeaki, Sally Potocki and Alicia Pota shared the bulk of the scoring in the three-match hit-out.

Shoalhaven Basketball Association Special Events co-ordinator Scott Balsar said the Fiesta tournament was a great opportunity to showcase some of the stars of the WNBL, including Poto, Abby Bishop (Canberra), Kristen Veal and Mikalea Dombkins (Logan) and Elizabeth Cambridge (AIS) in the Shoalhaven and South Coast.

“We have always had a close working relationship with both Canberra and Sydney but we have taken the usual one pre-season game to hopefully an annual event,” he said.

“The WNBL Clubs have been tremendous and I also had good interest from the Dandenong Rangers and Townsville Fire. If the Fiesta is successful this year I’m thinking it may expand next year into six or more teams, which would be fantastic for not only women’s basketball but basketball in the Shoalhaven.”

Players from the Flames and Logan held a clinic for local girls and boys aged 8-11 on Friday night.