Former Southern Design Sydney Uni Flame, Suzy Batkovic, came back to haunt the National Women’s Basketball League leaders at Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre on Friday night, with a basket nine seconds from time sealing a 77-74 win for Adelaide Lightning.
Batkovic’s telling shot dealt the Southern Design Flames a second successive defeat after they opened the 2011-12 season with a seven-match winning streak.
The loss also relegated the Flames to second on the WNBL ladder, behind the Lightning, although they have a game in hand.
In the battle of the two top sides, the Flames grabbed a 65-64 lead with five minutes on the clock and the teams went basket for basket down to the wire, with the scores tied twice before Adelaide grabbed the initiative in the closing seconds.
Batkovic ended with a game-high 25 points to go with 16 rebounds and five blocks in a dominant performance. She received strong support from her skipper Jo Hill, playing her 300th WNBL match, Abby Bishop, who finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, and Amy Lewis, who contributed 15 points.
Belinda Snell was once again the standout for the Flames, playing all 40 minutes of the contest and finishing with 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Guards Katie-Rae Ebzery with 22 points, and Alicia Poto with 19 points and nine rebounds, were also strong contributors.
Despite 11 first-term points from Batkovic, the Flames held a 24-23 lead at quarter-time. They extended that to a five-point buffer early in the second term, but Adelaide responded to establish a 43-41 halftime lead.
The visitors broke away to a 10-point lead in the third term, before Denson and Snell led a Flames resurgence to trim the margin to 60-57 going into the exciting final term.
The Flames go on the road this weekend with two games in Melbourne: against third-placed Bulleen Boomers at the Veneto Club on Friday night (7.30pm tip-off) and sixth-placed Dandenong Rangers at the Dandenong Basketball Stadium on Saturday night (7.30pm tip-off).
Adelaide Lightning 77 (Suzy Batkovic 25, Abby Bishop 22, Amy Lewis 15) defeated Sydney Uni Flames 74 (Katie-Rae Ebzery 22, Belinda Snell 20, Alicia Poto 19) at Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre.