Photo credit: Geoff Tripp Photography
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames charged ahead early but were unable to hold-off a resurgent Melbourne Boomers, going down 75-87 before a big home crowd.
The Flames started full of intent with a string of baskets and stiff defence as Melbourne struggled to make any impression on the scoreboard. The first quarter saw the Flames deserving front-runners at 27-14. Towards the end of the quarter though Melbourne had found their feet, tightening their defence to put the brakes on the Flames scoring.
As the game progressed it appeared that the Boomers were more effective in setting up their field-goal opportunities and their shooting precision was better than the Flames. The Flames certainly created chances, however, some loose passing and their conversion rate let them down at critical points. The Flames lamented nailing just 5 from 16 three-Pointers (31%) compared to the Boomers 11 from 24 (45%) and in the free-throws department the Flames could only manage 12 from 21 compared to a perfect 12 from 12 for the Boomers. Despite the wayward shooting, the Flames showed great determination and intensity all over the court to trail by just a single point at three quarter time.
In the absence of their captain, Belinda Snell, crowd favourite Tahlia Tupaea led the way for the Flames with 21 points. Tupaea was looking the most likely for the Flames and it was unfortunate that a heavy fall saw her leave the court in the final quarter. Current Opal and stand-in captain, Alex Bunton was a powerful figure in the key with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Brittany Smart notched up 17 hard-won points. Smart looks a top signing with her basketball IQ, court coverage and willingness to scrap with opponents for every ball.
Melbourne Boomers were best served by crafty- guard, Lindsay Allen who had a game-high haul of 23 points and was a constant threat to the Flames whenever she had ball-in-hand, which was often. Boomers captain, Jenna O’Hea was a big contributor with 19 points and Cayla George also made life hard for the Flames.
A tight contest was generated as both teams went in search of their first win of the new season. The speed of play enthralled the fans who were also celebrating 15 years of The Flames at Sydney University. All present were treated with free birthday cake for the occasion.
The Flames continue to show improvement in just their third outing of the 2018/19 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season and will take a lot of heart from their solid performance despite the close loss.
Following an away game against Townsville in Round 3, the Flames will return to Brydens Stadium to take on the Perth Lynx on Thursday 1st November at 7pm.
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