The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames will be looking to bounce back from a last start loss when they clash with the talent-laden Logan Thunder in Sunday’s Women’s National Basketball League encounter.
The Flames put a significant dent in their play-off aspirations with a loss at the hands of the young Australian Institute of Sport team in Canberra last week and will be keen to rekindle those hopes with a solid win today.
After claiming an important win against Adelaide at home on Friday, the Flames couldn’t overcome a sluggish start against the AIS and despite some valiant efforts, couldn’t haul the talented youngsters back.
The focus now shifts to a Logan team that has moved to third on the competition table and has the talent and depth to enter the last month of the regular season well and truly in conversations about grand finals and championships.
Led by respected international coach Olaf Lange, the Thunder is deep, talented and is loaded with scoring potential in each position, placing the pressure firmly on the Flames defence to contain this potent offence.
Led by Emma Randall and Cayla Francis up front and with the dynamic Renae Camino on a wing, the Thunder have the scoring punch to consistently put winning totals on the board and place opponents under “scoreboard pressure”.
Throw in one of the league’s most consistent perimeter bombers in Sarah Graham and former Flames guard Kristen Veal and it is not hard to see why the Thunder have been one of the league’s big improvers in season 2010/2011.
The Flames have clashed with Logan twice already this season, with the teams splitting the first two games, so there is more than just bragging rights at stake when the ball goes up in this one today.
Sydney skipper Natalie Porter returned to form last Sunday with a vintage display against the AIS and her combination with Amy Denson on the interior will be crucial against the imposing Logan front-line.
Sally Potocki has relished her role in the starting line-up in recent weeks and she is likely to be one of the Flames players to be given the job of containing the dangerous Camino.
In the back court, Katie Ebzery is averaging over 20 points per game since the mid-season break and her clash with Graham will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this encounter.
For the Flames, the play-off margin for error is zero and with that motivation driving them, expect the home team to be primed for an energetic and committed performance.
Coach Karen Dalton has preached defence all year and with the scoring potential of the Thunder, it will be the defensive end of the floor that will decide the winner of this vital clash for both teams.