Graham Croker

Another week, another rung up the ladder. That’s been the story for the ACUVUE Sydney University Flames for the past couple of weeks and they followed the script again on Saturday with a 90-51 thumping of Dandenong Rangers.
They had to travel to the Devonport Sports Centre in Tasmania for the clash and the move to fifth on the ladder, but the locals were more than happy to see the Sydney-siders, with dual Olympian Suzy Batkovic-Brown, in action. And she didn’t disappoint, dominating at both ends of the court with a game-high 31 points to go with 13 rebounds.
The Flames skipped to a 6-nil lead early in proceedings and never looked back, setting up an 18-12 lead at the first break and a 13-point advantage at the main break.
Coach Karen Dalton was pleased with the Flames’ defensive effort, particularly in the second term when they snuffed out any chance of a Dandenong resurgence.
Dandenong coach Dale Waters acknowledged the effort. “The Flames were very physical and outmuscled us at every opportunity,” Waters said. “As a result, we didn’t make the shots which we should have.”
While the Flames had a slight rebounding advantage (39-34), it was in shooting department that they dominated. Sydney University hit 34 of 65 field goal attempts (52 per cent) to Dandenong’s 17 of 64 (27 per cent).
Batkovic-Brown was well supported by Deanna Smith (17), Natalie Porter (10) and Michaela Domkins (10), while Ashley Lindsey (10) and Caitlin Ryan (8) topped the Rangers’ scoring.
When Dandenong captain Ryan attempted to spark a comeback early in the second quarter, Sydney University met the challenge, with Batkovic-Brown leading the way. By half-time she had racked up 20 points, nine rebounds, one block and one assist.
Dandenong held the margin to 13 points in the early stages of the second half but the Flames upped the ante to pull away to a 20-point advantage going into the final quarter.
The Flames will take on ladder-leaders Bulleen Boomers at the Veneto Club in Melbourne next Sunday, with a tip-off at 2.30pm.

ACUVUE Sydney University Flames 90 (Suzy Batkovic-Brown 31, Deanna Smith 17, Mikaela Dombkins 10, Natalie Porter 10) d Dandenong Rangers 51 (Ashley Lindsey 10, Caitlin Ryan 8) at Devonport Sports Centre.