Signings ignite Flames for final run

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Graham Croker

Good news, a good draw and a good break have the Southern Design Sydney University Flames ready to make a push for the 2010-11 Women’s National Basketball League finals series.

The Flames resume competition after the Christmas break with a match against Bendigo at the Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre on Friday night – tip-off at 7pm.

The good news for the start of the new year came with the announcement that import Amy Denson and coach Karen Dalton have re-signed with the club.

Denson has signed a one-year agreement with the Flames and will return for her second season in Sydney after a stand-out debut season in the WNBL, while Dalton will be back at the helm for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons after signing during the week.

The good draw for the second half of the 2010-11 season sees the Flames playing five of their final seven competition matches at home.

Following their match against Bendigo, the Flames will  host Adelaide on January 14, Logan on Sunday, January 23, Townsville on Friday February 4 and Canberra on Saturday, February 19, interspersed with away games to Adelaide on Sunday, January 29, and Bendigo on Saturday, February 12.

And the good break came about after the Flames had turned on a three-game winning streak before Christmas to consolidate sixth spot on the ladder.

Coach Dalton said re-signing Denson, who is presently second in the league in scoring, and leads the Flames in rebounding, scoring and field goal percentage, was a positive step for the club.

“Amy has shown what a versatile and quality player she is in the first half of the season and we are excited to have her agree to play a second season in Sydney,” Dalton said.

“She has stepped into the WNBL comfortably and shown she is a professional in all aspects of the game, from training, to her work with our development and Academy programs to the terrific job she is doing on the court.

For dual Olympian Dalton, the new two-year agreement continues a long relationship with the club, at which she started her career as a teenager. As well as playing the most number of games for the club, Dalton was also assistant coach before taking the helm.

“We have a unique model in the WNBL and to have the support of SUSF and Sydney University is a significant bonus for our club and athletes,” she said.

“The club has shown a commitment to women’s basketball in Sydney and provides terrific opportunities for young student athletes, so it is a great organisation to be part of for all of us.

Sydney University Sport and Fitness High Performance Manager Matthew Phelps said the club was pleased to announce the signings mid-season.

“We are committed to the Flames program and to have these two key signings squared away mid-season is pleasing for the organisation,” he said.

“Amy has shown she is an excellent player and ambassador for the club and we are pleased she is keen to return for a second season.

“Karen is passionate about the Flames and the university and we believe she is the person to lead the way as we continue to grow the program and provide opportunities for young players from NSW keen to balance elite sport with study.”