Fire extinguish Flames during Quaycentre clash

December 16, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flames fought hard but suffered a tough 70-48 loss to league-leaders Townsville on Saturday night.

The round seven match, played in front of 1,329 fans at Quaycentre, marked Lara McSpadden’s 100th in the WNBL. 

Match summary  

The visitors raced out to a 9-2 lead, behind the strong play of guard Sami Whitcomb and the Flames started 1/10 from the field. Tough defence by the Flames slowed the Fire’s offence, while Nicholson kept the scoreboard ticking over. Despite this, the harbour city side trailed 15-9 at the first break. 


Nicholson continued to toil with the ball in hand, but the Flames’ defence couldn’t slow the Fire, who started the term on a 15-2 run. McSpadden then gave the Hoops Capital side a spark on both ends of the court, allowing the hosts to close the margin heading towards half-time. An Emma Clarke corner three helped make it 33-20 at the main break.


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Townsville again started the stronger in the third, scoring the opening nine points of the period before Sydney responded with a 6-0 of their own. Solid contributions by McSpadden and Kiera Rowe, followed by back-to-back triples by Vanessa Panousis and Cayl George closed the margin to 12 (44-32) midway through the term. Late buckets by Townsville duo Amanda Zahui and Steph Reid gave the visitors a 48-34 at the final change. 

The two rivals traded baskets in the opening stages of the fourth, with triples by Rowe and Clarke fuelling Guy Molloy’s side. Although Whitcomb steadied the ship for the Fire, the Flames hit back with a Nicholson three-pointer. Although the Flames never gave up, a 9-0 late in the piece helped the Fire win the period 22-14 and ultimately the game 70-48 

Where the match was decided  

A strong defensive effort by Townsville, where they only allowed the hosts to score 20 points, laid the platform for the round seven victory.

Key moment  

The triumph for Fire was set up by statistical wins in field goal percentage (38-31), rebounding (54-28), points in the paint (26-20), second-chance points (26-20) and points off turnovers (13-7).

Player of the game 

Nicholson led the way for the Flames, scoring a team-high 11 points, to go along with five assists, two rebounds and one steal.

What’s next  

Molloy’s side, who are now 4-6, hit the round again in round eight – travelling to Melbourne on Wednesday night to play the Boomers from 7pm AEDT.

The Flames’ next home game in Sydney is on Friday, December 22 against Bendigo at Quaycentre from 6.45pm – with tickets available here.