Despite two courageous performances within the space of 48 hours against the WNBL’s top two ranked teams, the Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames have returned from south of the border empty handed.
Against the first placed Bendigo Spirit and second placed Dandenong Rangers the Flames more than held their own, and found themselves in winning positions, but were unable to remain consistent enough throughout all four quarters to take home a win.
The Flames went down to the Rangers on Saturday night by just six points (78-72) after leading by five points heading into the final quarter.
What had worked for the Flames in the first 3 quarters – good rebounding and defence – went missing in the fourth and the Rangers showed why they are one of the WNBL Championship contenders as they put together a 21-0 run. The Flames fought back hard in the final minutes but ran out of time.
Jenna O’Hea, Krista Phillips and Monica Wright led the way for the Rangers in the fourth quarter.
April Sykes had 17 points and three rebounds for the Flames, while Rohanee Cox (11 points) and Lauren King (10 points) also contributed strongly.
It was a similar tale on Friday night as the Flames started the game brightly against the Bendigo Spirit – leading after the first two quarters – before allowing a fired up Spirit to win the third quarter and head to the final break with an eight point lead.
The Flames struggled to contain Gabe Richards who scored 22 points and pulled down 9 rebounds, as the Spirit ran out 77-69 winners.
Rohanee Cox was the Flames best player with 17 points and eight boards, while Sarah Graham continued to improve after a long lay-off through injury as she scored 16 points. Sykes also had 16 points, while Flames captain Alicia Poto was her consistently solid self.
The Flames have a bye this weekend, before they once again take on the Bendigo Spirit at 7:30pm on Friday January 25th at Bendigo Stadium.
The Flames then face the Bulleen Boomers two days later on Sunday January 27th at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre.
Tickets are on sale from 4pm on the day and tipoff is at 5pm.
You can also support the Flames on Twitter @SydUniFlames or Facebook Sydney Uni Flames WNBL.