Graham Croker

The Southern Design Sydney University Flames returned to the winner’s list in the Women’s National Basketball League on Friday night when they defeated West Coast Waves 70-66 at Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

Having been to Townsville, Brisbane and Canberra for the opening three matches of the 2010-11 season – for two wins and a loss – the Flames travelled to the Red Centre to collect the points against West Coast and cement fourth spot on the WNBL ladder.

Natalie Stafford scored a game-high 19 points for the winners, who were also well-served by Natalie Porter with 17, while Tully Bevilaqua (14 points) and Samantha Norwood (11) topped the Waves’ scoring.

After leading 20-15 at the first break, the Flames upped the tempo in the second term, posting 32 points.

The Waves regrouped in the third quarter, and despite shooting only 23 per cent from the floor in the term, they managed to get to the line nine times, converting eight of them to bridge the gap to 15.

But they could only trim the margin by another two points in the final term as the Flames ran out comfortable winners to move north on the table, while West Coast moved further south with a win/loss record of 1-3.

While West Coast have a bye next round to contemplate their season, the Flames will finally play their first home game for 2010-11, with a match against second-placed Canberra Capitals at Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre from 7pm on Saturday night.

Not only will the Flames be introducing their new naming rights sponsor, Southern Design, they’ll also be introducing six new players on the roster in Lauren Nicholson, Natalie Stafford, Amy Denson, Ashleigh Karaitiana, Tanya Smith and Katie-Rae Ebzery.


Women’s National Basketball League – Round 3

Southern Design Sydney University Flames 79 (Natalie Stafford 19, Natalie Porter 17, Katie-Rae Ebzery 13, Amy Denson 13) d West Coast Waves 66 (Tully Bevilaqua 14, Samantha Norwood 11, Zoe Harper 10) at Alice Springs.