The Southern Design Sydney Uni Sparks put together two strong performances over the weekend. In their first game they took it to the Bendigo Braves, suffering a narrow 87-81 loss. The Sparks then bounced back with a convincing 88-65 victory over the Ballarat Rush.
Despite facing the undefeated league leaders, Sydney Uni showed no signs of backing down. The visiting Sparks came out firing and took a 23-14 lead into the first break.
The Sparks continued to challenge the Braves for the entirety of the game, still leading by 11 points mid-way through the third. However, with a host of WNBL talent, the experienced Braves stormed home in the last quarter to defeat the Sparks by six points.
Tahlia Tupaea was unstoppable for the Sparks, finishing with 28 points and six assists. Lara McSpadden had 14 points and seven rebounds. Shanae Greaves and Emily Simons added 12 points apiece. Maddie O’Hehir also hit double figures with 10 points, despite being taken off early in the fourth quarter due to a concussion.
It seemed as if their game against Bendigo had affected the Sparks, as they started their second game looking flat. Ballarat came out strong taking an 18-12 lead into the first break. However, after quarter time, Sydney Uni found their Spark, scoring 18 unanswered points to start the second quarter. From that stage, the visiting Sparks maintained full control of the game.
Sydney Uni were tough on defence claiming 14 steals and forcing the Rush into 26 turnovers. The Sparks capitalised on this scoring 31 points off their opposition’s mistakes. Overall it was a dominant team effort with all players scoring and contributing effectively in the 23 point victory.
For the Sparks, five players featured in double figures. Tahlia Tupaea led the Sparks with 20 points and five rebounds. Emily Simons (18 points, five rebounds) and Elle Carroll (12 points, four assists) were great of the bench and post duo, Lara McSpadden (11 points, five rebounds) and Shanae Greaves (10 points, eight rebounds) were strong in the paint.
The Sparks will take confidence from their first match up with the ladder leaders when they take on Bendigo for the second time in consecutive weeks. The match will be played at 6pm on Saturday 30th June at Hornsby Basketball Stadium.