Back-to-back loss to Townsville and Logan at the weekend sent the Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames from third to seventh on the National Women’s Basketball League ladder.
And with only four rounds to play the Sydney franchise is in danger of missing out on a top-six place and a qualifying final berth.
After starting the season with a seven-match winning streak, the Flames went on a roller-coaster ride culminating in the disastrous Sunshine Swing at the weekend which saw them lose 70-57 to Townsville Fire at the Townsville RSL Stadium on Friday night, and 71-69 to Logan at Logan Metro Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Adelaide head the competition after 15 rounds, with Bulleen, Townsville, Logan, Bendigo and Dandenong making up the top six, and Sydney Uni hovering in seventh place.
The Flames will be at home for three of their final four competition matches – against Canberra on Thursday, January 26 (6pm tip-off), Dandenong on Friday, February 3 (7pm) and West Coast on Friday, February 17 (7pm), interspersed with an away match against Bendigo at Bendigo Stadium on Saturday, February 11 (7.30pm).
Having rolled Townsville in their first encounter in the 2011-12 NWBL season, the northerners have since downed the Sydneysiders twice, with Friday night’s effort the most dominant on the back of a 24-15 final term.
Jess Foley led the scoreboard for the hosts, with 22 points to go with seven rebounds and four steals, but it was the all-round contribution of import Shanavia Dowdell adding a double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds that kept Townsville on top.
Amy Denson led the way for the Flames with 14 points, to go along with nine rebounds, while Belinda Snell added 11 points.
The road trip didn’t get any better on the return home, with Logan Thunder making the Brisbane stopover a nightmare for the Flames.
With the scores tied at 65 apiece and the clock showing less than two minutes remaining, the Thunder held on despite the Flames having multiple offensive opportunities in the final minute to snatch victory.
Import Cory Montgomery top-scored for the Thunder with 18 points, connecting on eight of her 10 field goal attempts, to go along with seven rebounds, while Cayla Francis added 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Renae Camino added 13 points.
The Flames were led by outstanding performances by Belinda Snell, who led all scorers with 27 points, along with Amy Denson who added a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds.
National Women’s Basketball League – Round 14
Townsville Fire 70 (Jess Foley 22, Shanavia Dowdell 18, Mia Newley 8) d Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames 57 (Amy Denson 14, Belinda Snell 11, Lauren King 9) at Townsville RSL Stadium on Friday night.
Logan Thunder 71 (Cory Montgomery 18, Cayla Francis 15, Renae Camino 13) d Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames 69 (Belinda Snell 27, Amy Denson 21, Katie-Rae Ebzery 10) at Logan Metro Stadium on Sunday afternoon.