The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames fought extremely hard during their 70-59 loss to US NCAA Division 1 college team Oklahoma University at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre (SUSAC) on Friday night.  

Against one of the powerhouses in the NCAA Big 12 conference, Flames guards Katie-Rae Ebzery and Sarah Graham were impressive, scoring 45 points between them, 18 of them coming beyond the 3 point line.

Ebzery had a stellar game, nearly achieving a double-double with 28 points, nine rebounds and high percentage shooting from both 2 point and 3 point range. She is looking in ominous form leading into the start of the WNBL season.

Ebzery had some strong support from Graham, whose shooting was consistent all over the court, finishing with 17 points.

Flames captain Alicia Poto was her usual self, leading from the front and setting a great example in defence against an impressive opposition.

Possessing a huge line-up, with seven players over six foot (and the tallest player being 198cm), Oklahoma caused the Flames problems on the boards, outrebounding them 47-33. This problem should certainly be eased when 192cm forward Ellie Manou joins the Flames line-up. Lauren King was also a noticeable absentee from the Flames squad, and will add plenty of prowess around the boards.

Friday night’s game was the second of two games played against American university teams, after the Flames played against the Auburn Tigers at Hornsby, and Flames Head Coach Karen Dalton is pleased with how the team is progressing.

“The games against Auburn and then Oklahoma on Friday night have provided our players with some valuable learning experiences,” Dalton said.

“It’s still early days and we are still in preseason, but these types of games are an important part of our preparation for the start of the WNBL in October.”

Both games have been valuable hit outs for the team and have provided an opportunity for all of the girls to hit the court, including some exciting Flames Academy players.

The Flames first WNBL fixture of the 2012/13 season is against Canberra at SUSAC on Friday October 6.

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