Flames ready for top of the table clash

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The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames welcome one of the most talented teams in the WNBL to the Sydney Uni Sports and Aquatic Centre court this Friday night for the clash with Logan Thunder.

With a host of Opals and Tall Ferns stars and a respected international coach, the Thunder are one of the elite teams in the competition and the stage is set for a high quality, intense battle between these two great rivals.

The Flames have engaged in some great battles with the Thunder in recent years, including an over-time “barn-burner” on the same court last year and with plenty at stake for both teams, the scene is set for some great battles in this one.

It only takes a brief look through the rosters of both teams to see the level of player that will be on court, with the Flames boasting Olympian’s Alicia Poto and Belinda Snell and the Thunder having three Olympic representatives in Emma Randall, Natalie Taylor and Kate McMeekan-Ruscoe.

Add to that rising start Katie Rae Ebzery (Sydney), Gretel Tippett (Logan) and Thunder centre Cayla Francis and the quality and depth of both teams is sure to whet the appetite of the WNBL fan.

With winning on the home court so crucial in what is set to be a tight and fiercely contested league, the Flames will be keen to build on their first up home win against the AIS with another polished display on Friday night.

In the opening home game, Flames stars Poto and Snell combined for 18 assists and it is that sort of unselfish play and ball movement that will be needed against the athletic Logan defence.

There are fantastic individual battles across the board, with the battle of former Flames team-mates Poto and Kristen Veal set to be a highlight, as is the clash up front between Flames MVP Amy Denson and one of the rising stars of Australian basketball in Cayla Francis.

On the wing, Logan’s Renae Camino is an explosive scorer and her battle with Flames live-wire guard Ebzery will pit two of the league’s most exciting young talents head to head.

And of course there is the clash between experienced international campaigners Natalie Taylor and Belinda Snell, with the talented forwards engaging in some great battles in Opals/Tall Ferns clashes over the last five years.

With the two teams so evenly matched, there is sure to be little separating throughout and the team that can control the backboards and look after the basketball the likely winner.

Scoring should not be an issue, with both teams brim-full of explosive scorers and possessing the ideal blend of interior scoring with perimeter firepower.

This one is set to be one of the game’s of the 2011/2012 WNBL season and the perfect clash for the Flames first home game to be replayed on ABC-Television on Saturday.