Despite some promising glimpses of great play, the Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames dropped both of their games on the road following an exhausting weekend in the West.
The Flames were just edged out of the contest against the West Coast Waves on Friday night in Perth, going down by just 8 points, before the Adelaide Lightning proved to be tough opposition on Saturday night as they defeated Sydney 86-60 in the city of churches.
Sydney Uni were well in the game, and actually stormed into the lead in the third quarter, before going down to the more consistent Waves 78-70 at the Sandpit.
It was a thrilling encounter throughout, as the Flames fought back from an 11-point deficit at the main break to lead by three late in the third quarter. This was largely thanks to some sharp shooting from Katie-Rae Ebzery who scored 13 points in the term, and 27 for the game. Ebzery also received some solid assistance from captain Alicia Poto and Lauren King.
Going into the their second game of the weekend on Saturday still missing April Sykes (USA), Sarah Graham (injured) and Vanessa Panousis (HSC commitments) a tired Flames squad had to dig deep against the experienced Adelaide Lightning.
After a poor start the Flames fought back to be down by 8 points with 80 seconds remaining in the first half. Unfortunately a lapse in concentration allowed Adelaide to score 9 unanswered points which saw them enter the sheds at halftime with a 17 point buffer.
Led by an excellent all-round performance by Poto, who had 10 points, 9 assists, 6 steals and 6 rebounds for the game, the Flames stuck it out in the second half, but were unable to make an headway against an Adelaide side that featured three 2012 Opals (including reigning WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic, Jenni Screen and Laura Hodges) dominating the floor.
For the Flames, Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) scholarship holder Jaimee Kennedy was also very good scoring 7 points and pulling down 6 boards. Defensively Kennedy was also very effective.
It was great to see two Flames rookies make their first WNBL appearances over the weekend. Tahlia Tupaea hit a big three-pointer against Perth, before seeing some quality minutes in the Adelaide fixture. Fellow rookie Chloe Dalton also played her first WNBL minutes. Despite not scoring, Dalton looked excellent in defence.
Flames Head Coach was far from dejected after the two losses over the weekend, but called for more consistency from her players.
“It was disappointing to not come away with a win, but the weekend was a good learning experience for this young group,” said Dalton.
“In both games we once again showed glimpses of some great play, but there were also some poor passages. Inconsistency is a big problem at the moment and we need to put four quarters together. We will continue to work hard in training and I expect the girls to come out firing against Bulleen this Friday night.
“We are looking forward to April Sykes joining the team this week and she will certainly add some score power to the group.
Our post players need to come ready to play this week and focus on defence and rebounding.”
Tickets to the Flames game against the Bulleen Boomers can be bought on game night on Friday October 19 from 6pm at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre. Tip-off is at 7pm.
It will be a fascinating game, so get up out of your seat and help ‘Light up the Flames’.
You can also support the Flames on Twitter @SydUniFlames or Facebook Sydney Uni Flames WNBL.