The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames had a round of ups and downs over the weekend, but it was just enough to edge the team back into the top four. The Flames took a nail biting fall by three points to the UC Canberra Capitals on Thursday night before managing a victory at home against the Melbourne Boomers on Saturday.
The round began with a road trip to the capital to take on Canberra. Sydney Uni got off to a terrific start which has become somewhat of a signature for the side of late, scoring 29 points to lead at quarter time by 9. Katie Ebzery was instrumental in this term, collecting 12 of her 22 points in the first ten minutes of play.
Unfortunately the Flames were not able to carry this momentum through to the second quarter which saw their offense crippled; only managing 6 points in the following term. This battle to find their offensive rhythm continued throughout the rest of the game as Canberra played tight defence and limited the Flames opportunities.
The Capitals two centre’s put on a dominant display; both Lauren Jackson and Abby Bishop collected 19 points, with 14 and 9 rebounds respectively. Despite a more competitive final quarter which saw the Flames outscore the home team by 2 points, they were not able to edge in front in the final minutes, just falling short 66 -69.
Although the team suffered a disappointing loss on the Thursday, they travelled back to Sydney to face the Melbourne Boomers on Saturday night which was a tough feat given the Boomers were fresh having not played a mid-week game.
The Flames surged with energy, and opened the game with two convincing quarters of play, again getting out to a strong start scoring 28 points in the first quarter. The Boomers managed to stay with them in the first ten minutes of play chasing by only 3 at the end of the term however the Flames consolidated on their lead by continuing to blaze and collect 30 more points in the second term meaning they led at the major break by a margin of 10.
Pivotal in the Flames early surge were back court duo Leilani Mitchell and Katie Ebzery. Mitchell shot at a phenomenal clip, finishing the game 10 -12 from the field including 4 -4 from the 3 point line to tally 26 points. Ebzery was equally impressive in her shooting from beyond the arc managing 3 -3 and collecting 19 points.
As a team the Flames finished the game shooting at over 50% from the field and took much better care of the ball offensively than the opposition who were stifled by their own mistakes throughout the game.
The second half saw a much tighter contest as Melbourne attempted to limit the Flames opportunities and put pressure on the home team on the glass, outrebounding the Flames 26 – 42. Despite this late pressure the Flames held strong and finished out the game winners by 15 points, 88 -73.
This was an instrumental win for the team who were placed just outside the top four. With play offs just around the corner they are now in much better shape to latch on to this position and boast a finals berth. The Flames play away this weekend against ladder leaders Townsville on Saturday the 25th of January.