The Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames stood tall and proud to finish their season on a high with a 76-60 victory over the West Coast Waves at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre (SUSAC) on Saturday night.
It was the Flames’ Indigenous Excellence Round and the local indigenous community turned out in force to celebrate not only the round but also their indigenous Flames heroes Alicia Poto and Rohanee Cox.
The stadium was packed to the rafters and entertained from the start of the night with 12 year old indigenous singer Mi-kaisha Masella wowing the crowd with her flawless performance of the national anthem. She was then followed by a stirring welcome to country and you could feel the atmosphere rising in the stadium.
Moments before tip-off, Sarah Graham was presented with a momento celebrating her 100th WNBL game. That obviously sparked her into an awesome performance – Graham was the game’s star attraction with the pint-sized guard scoring 21 points off the bench (which included five long bombs from downtown). For the Flames, Rohanee Cox was also immense recording yet another double double (14 points and 10 rebounds).
For the visitors, Antonia Edmondson led their score sheet with 12 points, while Hayley Moffat added 10 points and 6 rebounds. The Waves shot a disappointing 23/64 (36%) from the field compared to the Flames’ solid 30/68 (44%)
The Flames opened the offensive afterburners early into the game taking an early 12-4 lead. Following a much needed tiime-out, the Waves scored 17 straight points over the last 5 minutes and led 21-12 at the first change.
Back to back long bombs by Sarah Graham early in the second quarter sparked hopes of a revival by the home side. The Flames came home with a wet sail in the second quarter to go into the main break up 34-33.
At half time, SUSF Executive Director, Rob Smithies, announced that SUSF will be helping the Flames set up an Indigenous Athlete Development Program. This program is something that the Flames have been planning and designing for the past 12 months and SUSF’s support will kick start the program into action.
After the great news, the Flames exploded in the third quarter. Their defence was nothing short of swarming and their 10-0 offence run pushed their advantage into double digits. The Waves then produced a late flurry of points to stay in touch at 52-47 with a quarter to go.
The final period of the season for these two teams began with the Flames breaking off a 16-0 run. Graham sank another two long three-pointers as the visitors started to fall apart at the offensive end. As the game headed to the finish line, the crowd got on their feet and cheered the Flames eighth win of the season.
At the end of the game, the Flames did a lap of honour to thank their loyal fans and signed autographs well into the night.
After 10 years at this current stadium, the Flames now move into a brand new 1000+ seat air conditioned purpose built stadium to kick off their 2013-14 WNBL Season. The Flames players, fans and staff can’t wait to light up the season 2013-14 in this new Flames stadium.
Final Score: Sydney Uni Flames 76 (Graham 21, Ebzery 17, Cox 14) defeated West Coast Waves 60 (Edmonson 12, Moffat 10)