Graham Croker

In a crucial game for both teams, a final term surge from Bendigo Spirit earned them a seven-point win over Sydney University Flames at the Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre on Friday night.

With just two points separating the teams going into the final quarter, the Spirit put together a 29-20 last term to run out 85-78 winners.

The win took the visitors to third on the competition ladder behind Canberra and Bulleen, and left the Flames floundering in sixth spot.

With four of their final six games at home, the Flames can still make the finals, but they need to return to the winner’s circle – and soon.

The Flames will  host Adelaide this Friday night, 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.

Bendigo suffered a setback before Friday night’s match with the Flames when Kristi Harrower sustained a knee injury at training during the week.

After trailing by four at the first change, the Flames were impressive in the second term and outscored the Spirit 24-19 to take a slim half-time lead.

The match tightened in the third term with just two points separating the teams going into the final quarter.

Tess Madgen top scored for Bendigo, finishing the contest with 24 points, while Chelsea Aubry finished with 16 points and Kelly Wilson posted 14.

For the Flames, Katie-Rae Ebzery was dominant offensively, ending the game with 24 points, while Amy Denson had 16 and Natalie Porter added 15 for the contest.

Import Denson signed another one-year agreement with the Flames during the week and will be on board for the 2011-12 season, while coach Karen Dalton has also re-signed with the Flames and will be at the helm for another two seasons.

Women’s National Basketball League – Round 12

Bendigo Bank Spirit 85 (Tess Madgen 24, Chelsea Aubry 16, Kelly Wilson 14) defeated Southern Design Sydney University Flames 78 (Katie Rae Ebzery 27, Amy Denson 16, Natalie Porter 15) at Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre.