Graham Croker

Christmas could come early for the ACUVUE Sydney University Flames if they can extend their eight-game winning streak with positive results over third-placed Townsville and seventh-placed Logan this weekend.
The long road trip will see the second-placed Flames travel to Townsville for a match against the Fire on Friday night before returning to Brisbane for a clash with Logan on Sunday afternoon. The matches will round out the Flames’ commitments for 2009, with the competition resuming on January 8.
After a rocky start to the season the Flames went on a winning streak that continued at ACUVUE Sports Hall on Saturday night with a 94-75 win over Townsville Fire.
The streak earned Karen Dalton WNBL Coach of the Month status, while top-scorer Suzy Batkovic-Brown was named Player of the Month.
Batkovic-Brown and Sydney University teammate Deanna Smith led the scoring against the Fire with 27 apiece, while Mikaela Dombkins chalked up 15 points.
The Flames dominated the early exchanges and established a 10-point lead mid-way through the first quarter, but Townsville’s Aneka Davis kept her side in the match and the visitors went to the first break trailing by four.
Townsville restricted Batkovic-Brown to three points in the second term and went to the main break down 36-35, with an upset in the air.
Stern words from Dalton had the Students fired up for the third term. They opened with an alley-oop from Smith to Batkovic-Brown and soon had a seven-point lead. Batkovic-Brown went on the score 10 points and grab four steals for the quarter as the Flames established control.
As Townsville tired in the final term, having played full-court press throughout the match, the Flames maintained the offensive and ran out comfortable winners.
Coach Dalton will be working on the Flames’ early intensity when they meet Townsville on Friday.
“We were a bit passive in the first half on Saturday night,” she said. “But our intensity was better in the second half.”


ACUVUE Sydney University Flames 94 (Suzy Batkovic-Brown 27, Deanna Smith 27, Mikaela Dombkins 15) d Townsville First 75 (Aneka Davis 19, Amy Lewis 16, Rohanee Cox 14) at ACUVE Sports Hall, Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre.