Flames ready for Melbourne road double

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The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames will go head first into the challenging Melbourne road double this weekend full of confidence, following an incredible 46 point thrashing of the Canberra Capitals on Friday night.

On Friday night the Flames head south of the border to take on the fourth placed Bulleen Boomers at The Veneto Club, before locking horns with the second placed Dandenong Rangers at the Dandenong Basketball Stadium less than 24 hours later.

Bulleen possess an all-star line-up that includes one current Opal (Rachel Jarry) and two former Opals (Hollie Florance and Emma McDonald), all of whom have competed at Olympic Games. The Boomers also possess some serious height – with Alice Kunek, Elyse Penaluna, Stephanie Collins and McDonald all over 187cm – meaning that the Flames will have to focus on rebounding and keeping Bulleen off the boards.

Sydney Uni will also be looking to American import April Sykes and guard Katie Rae Ebzery to continue their good form. Sykes had 29 points against Canberra, while Ebzery had eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

The key match-up on Friday night will see Ebzery up against Tess Madgen. Both girls are up and coming players with aspirations of playing for the Opals and both have been in fine recent form.

Accompanying Ebzery in the back court is captain Alicia Poto, who is having one of her best seasons leading the team – particularly from the defensive end. Poto has also been a consistent scorer for the team.

192cm centre Ellie Manou continues to get better every week. Manou has been the most consistent of the Flames post players and she will be needed in both games this weekend, particularly on the boards.

Rohanee Cox and Lauren King have continued to battle the opposition bigs, and they have been instrumental in the Flames last two victories thanks to their rebounding and defence.

Flames Coach Karen Dalton is all too aware of where the game against Bulleen will be won and lost.

“We need to keep the Bulleen perimeter bigs – Kunek and Jarry – off the boards, and we need to win the rebounding and possession game,” said Dalton.

The following evening the Flames will have their hands full against the reigning WNBL Champions, the Dandenong Rangers.

The Rangers are a deep and talented team and are once again one of the favourites to take out this season’s title.  

Saturday night will be the first time that these two teams have met this season, and the game may come down to the battle of the point guards – Poto up against Kathleen Macleod – which should be a highlight.

The Flames will look to keep Krista Phillips out of the game. At 6’5”, the Canadian Centre will pose some problems for the Flames young post players if she is allowed too much room to operate.

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