Brydens Sydney Uni Flames started their two-match road trip on a positive note with an 83-68 win over Canberra Capitals to kick off the 2013-14 Women’s National Basketball League season.

Katie-Rae Ebzery led the way with some brilliant outside shooting to topscore for the Flames, who looked very impressive for most of Saturday’s match.

Ebzery was nearly unstoppable from all parts of the floor, finishing with 29 points, six rebounds and four assists, including a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. The World University Games star was well supported by veteran Alicia Poto (18 points, 4/8 three-pointers, 6 rebounds) and youngster Casey Samuels (13 points, 3/5 three-pointers). The Flames shot 12-of-28 from long range to please coach Karen Dalton. “Ebzery is a super player,” Dalton told Pagemasters. “We have lots of scorers but we have to be disciplined at that end of the floor, and I thought we were really good at that except for a couple of patches.”

Jess Bibby led the scoring for Canberra with 22 points, while Carley Mijovic (15 points, 5 rebounds), Nat Hurst (10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Abby Bishop (10 points, 9 rebounds) also reached double figures.

The Flames led 22-15 at quarter-time, but when Bibby opened the second period with a triple a close contest looked on the cards. The momentum swung squarely back in Sydney Uni’s  as Ebzery and Poto continued to bamboozle the Capitals’ defence from inside and out, combining for 27 first-half points as the Flames took a 41-25 advantage into half-time.

“We struggled to get a handle on the game, and in the areas we weren’t good Sydney were very good,” Capitals assistant coach Brendan Parnell said. “Ironically we were trying to push the tempo, and we did a reasonable job of that, but they ended up completing more of the broken play opportunities.”

Dalton blamed fatigue for the Flames’ performance against Melbourne Boomers on Sunday when they lost 72-66.

The turn-around in under 24 hours with travel and daylight saving involved didn’t help us,” she said. “We led them by 10 points early on and went to the first break with a three-point advantage.

“We fell away in the second quarter but fought back to be within four points with two minutes on the clock. They tried hard but were very fatigued at the end.”

Dalton is hoping a big home crowd this Friday night will help lift her troops to a winning start in the new 740-seat stadium. Tip off is at 7.30pm, and you can purchase tickets online at sydneyuniflames.com.au under the membership/tickets tab.


Women’s National Basketball League – Games 1 and 2

Game 1: Sydney Uni Flames 83 (Katie-Rae Ebzery 29, Alicia Poto 18, Casey Samuels 13) d Canberra Capitals 68 (Jessica Bibby 22, Carley Mijovic 15) at AIS Arena, Canberra on Saturday afternoon.

Game 2: Melbourne Boomers 72 (Tess Magden 20, Chelsea Poppens 18, Rebecca Allen 14) d Sydney Uni Flames 66 (Rohanne Cox 21, Katie-Rae Ebzery 14, Alicia Poto 13) at the State Basketball Centre, Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.