A game-high 37-point haul from Alicia Poto led the ACUVUE Sydney University Flames to a much needed 76-67 win over Townsville Fire at the Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre on Saturday night.
The win took the Flames to fifth place on the WNBL competition ladder after 13 matches, and a good result against third-placed Adelaide Lightning in Adelaide on Friday night would provide a welcome Christmas break.
The Flames were coming off an 86-61 win over the Australian Institute of Sport on Wednesday night, while the Fire were also last-start winners, having defeated Dandenong Rangers 72-60 in their Friday night encounter.
The last time the Flames and Fire met, Sydney University succumbed without Poto in the ranks. The skipper not only top-scored on Saturday, she also excelled in defence, restricting the Townsville point guard to just two points.
Flame Eva Afeaki continued her fine form with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while Rohanee Cox led Townsville with 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Flames jumped out to a 7-0 start before Townsville kicked into gear to take the first quarter 20-14.
Townsville carried a seven-point lead into the second half but as they have done all season the Flames ignited after the long break and rained down baskets to take the third term 25-12, and a six-point lead at the final break.
The Fire fought back to within one point with 1:36 left on the clock, but the Flames surged again and stretched the margin to nine points at the final buzzer.
ACUVUE Sydney University Flames 76 (Alicia Poto 37, Sally Potocki 14, Eva Afeaki 11) d Townsville Fire 67 (Rohanee Cox 19, Amy Lewis 14, Kirby Dalgleish 9)