Graham Croker

Suzy Batkovic-Brown hasn’t taken long to make her presence felt in her first season in the Women’s National Basketball League since 2002.
The dual Olympian top-scored with 23 points for the ACUVUE Sydney Uni Flames in their 73-62 win over Dandenong Jayco Rangers at the Sydney University Sport and Fitness Centre on Saturday night. The 193cm centre also top-scored with 29 points in her debut for the Flames – an 86-73 loss to Adelaide – the previous week.
Fielding their strongest roster for a number of seasons, the Flames hope to make their home court a fortress this season and they began in the right manner with the 11-point win on Saturday.
As well as leading the scoring, Batkovic-Brown also pulled down 11 rebounds. She was well assisted by Eva Afeaki, who added 10 rebounds to the 12 points she scored. AIS graduate Stephanie Cumming scored a team-high 16 points for Dandenong.
Although the final margin was comfortable on paper, the Flames didn’t have it all their own way in the first half. They led 18-13 at the first break and 33-30 at the main break.
A three-pointer on the buzzer from Deanne Butler gave the hosts a seven-point margin at the final break before they closed out the visitors.
While both teams shooting at 37 per cent from the field Sydney Uni grabbed the advantage with their strength at the post, out-rebounding the Rangers 55-28.
The ACUVUE Sports Hall should be packed on Friday night when the Flames host unbeaten Bulleen Boomers in the ABC TV Game of the Week. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm.

SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 73 (Suzy Batkovic-Brown 23, Eva Afeaki 12, Deanne Butler 11) d DANDENONG RANGERS 65 (Stephanie Cumming 16, Caitlin Ryan 15, Casey Nash 10, Megan Moody 10) at ACUVUE Sports Hall, Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre.