The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames showed great fighting spirit as they split their two game Melbourne road trip after a win against the fourth placed Bulleen Boomers was followed by a loss to the second placed Dandenong Rangers.
On Friday night the Flames came from six points down with five minutes to go to register a 79-75 victory – their fourth win of the season and their third win in a row.
Coming off a 46 point thrashing of the Canberra Capitals seven days earlier, the Flames continued where they left off, as they got off to a good start and finished the first quarter up 26-18 following some good defence and effective offensive execution. Ellie Manou and April Sykes led the way in scoring for the Flames while Alicia Poto and Rohanee Cox provided the defence.
Despite an improved Bulleen outfit in the second quarter, the Flames went into the main break up by four points.
In the third quarter the Flames improved their defensive transition and switching defences, while Katie-Rae Ebzery began to regularly find her way to the basket as Bulleen’s defence struggled to contain her.
With Bulleen up by six points as the last quarter entered the final minutes, the Flames produced some great defence which allowed them to create and execute some great offensive plays that catapulted them into the lead with just over a minute to play.
The leadership and organisation of captain Alicia Poto was pivotal in the end as the Flames found open players in offence and were able to knock down crucial open shots when they were most needed. Rohanee Cox’s defense was inspirational as she took two charging fouls in the fourth quarter.
Ebzery (23 pts and eight rebounds), Alicia Poto (17 points, six rebounds and four assists), April Sykes (17 points and three steals) and Rohannee Cox (13 pts, five rebounds and three blocks) were all exceptional in the four point win.
Following on from the tough win against Bulleen, the Flames assignment (a match-up against the Dandenong Rangers less than 24 hours later) was always going to be a very tough ask and that proved to be the case as the Flames went down 102-79. The girls got off to a poor start and quickly found themselves down 16-2. Despite this they fought back to cut the margin to just three points (20-17) at quarter-time following some exceptional defence and good offensive execution.
The Flames found themselves all square with three minutes left in the second half, before a series of costly turnovers allowed the star studded Rangers to lead by 10 at half-time.
The Flames once again fought their way back into the game to level scores in the third quarter before Opal Jenna O’Hea (35 points with a shooting percentage of 65%) kicked into another gear and the Flames trailed again by 10 at three-quarter time.
Sydney Uni were no match for Dandenong in the final quarter as fatigue and foul trouble for April Sykes saw the Rangers run over the top of the Flames, eventually winning by 23 points.
Rohanee Cox was outstanding, leading the way with a double double (20 points and 12 rebounds), whilst April Sykes (24pts) led the Flames scorers and was ably supported by Alicia Poto (17pts and five rebounds).
The Flames will next take on the Townsville Fire at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre on Saturday December 22.
Purchase an adult ticket to the Fire game and you will also receive free entry to the January 5 home game against the Dandenong Rangers – that’s just $10 for two games.