The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames have been narrowly defeated 67-58 by US NCAA Division 1 college team the Auburn University Tigers in a pre-season game played at a packed Hornsby Brickpit Basketball Stadium on Sunday.
After exchanging pleasantries, the teams lined up for the tip off. Regular Flames Alicia Poto, Katie Rae-Ebzery and Ellyce Ironmonger were joined in the starting line up by new recruits Michelle Joy and Sarah Graham. It was like they had been playing together for years and the Flames dominated the early play. Up until the final two minutes of the first half, the Flames out-hussled, out-rebounded and out-shot the Tigers. A run of six unanswered points in the final two minutes, however, saw the Tigers take a narrow 32-28 point half time lead.
The pace of the game was Usain Bolt-like and the intensity of the Tigers’ defence clearly lifted as the second quarter came to a close. Many of the Flames had turned out for their respective club teams on Saturday night and the speed and intensity began to take its toll on them in the third quarter. The Tigers consequently forced a number of turnovers and their star player, Hasina Muhammed, converted a number of these into points. The Tigers jumped out to a solid third quarter lead and despite a late fight back by the Flames in the final quarter, held on for a 9 point victory.
The Flames, in their first pre-season hit out, were solid and put on a good show for the Hornsby crowd. For the Flames, Sarah Graham scored 17 points, Katie Rae-Ebzery had 15 points, Alicia Poto had 13 points, and Michelle Joy shot 100% in scoring 10 points. Defensively, Ellyce Ironmonger was a demon on the boards pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Tigers, in the third game of their Australian tour, had many contributors. Their highlights were Hasina Muhammed, who scored a game-high 29 points, Blanche Alverson, who had 12 points, and Nicole Tannner, who had 9 points. The Tigers play one final local team today before heading home to start their NCAA season in November. Good luck Tigers!
The Flames have one further pre-season game against US college opposition. They take on the Oklahoma University Sooners at 6pm this Friday, 12 August 2012 at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre.
The cost of entry is just a gold coin donation! The Flames look forward to seeing you there!