Unable to make the finals and coming off a string of heart-breaking losses, Brydens Sydney Uni Flames showed their true colours in dashing the finals hopes of 5th place Bendigo Bank Spirit, 90-83, at Brydens Stadium, Friday night.
In contrast to recent games, where the Flames established an early lead only to be rundown late, they held- the- line against a surging Bendigo in the 4th Quarter to nail the final round victory. The overdue win was a gesture of thanks to their appreciative supporters and sponsors.
The game had everything: pride, a possible finals berth for Bendigo, high scoring, desperate defence and nerve-racking, scoreboard tension. The Flames reached 90 points for only the third time this season and not since way back in Round 7, last November. A study of the seasons results reveals only a handful of teams have managed this feat in what has proved a very competitive Wattle Valley 2015/16 WNBL season.
Five Flames players made double figures with champion #10 Katie Ebzery leading the pack with 21 points including 6 assists. Special mentions go to #31 Joselyn Tinkle and #7 Alex Wilson with 17 and 14 points respectively. To wild cheers, #23 Rohanee (Roey) Cox, in her last outing for the Flames before retirement, sunk a sweet 2-pointer.
The Spirit, summoning every drop of energy, as they sought to snatch a late victory, drew 80-all at one point. Similar to the Flames, many of their players shone, with #23 Kelsey Griffin achieving game top scorer with 22 points and a whopping 11 rebounds. The intensity of Griffin at both ends of the court was amazing considering it was her first game back from a hamstring injury.
Apart from Griffin, #12 Belinda Snell and #22 Kelly Wilson, Spirit Captain, both notched-up 18 points.
In a rare stat the Flames attained a perfect 100% for team Free Throws. Six Sydney players threw 18 baskets from the free throw line without a single miss.
The Flames showed this season that they have the game and steely resolve to match it with any side and were camped in the top four all season till they hit the wall over the last few rounds. The team gave their fans a great ride and expectations will again be high for next season’s campaign.