FLAMES CLAIM FRIGHT NIGHT
By Laura Hanlon
(Image credit: Swoop, Daily Telegraph)
The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have embraced the “spirit” of their Halloween-themed home game by scaring the rest of the WNBL teams with a scorching victory over top-of-the-table heavyweights Deakin Uni Melbourne Boomers, 65-56.
Through trick and treat the Flames laid the platform for the impressive win with a blazing opening stanza to take command 21-9.
In a masterful defensive effort the Flames managed to keep the current WNBL top-scorer and Australian Opal, Liz Cambage scoreless in Quarter 1. US imports, Asia Taylor and Jennifer Hamson were instrumental in cementing the Flames defensive wall, with Taylor in particular notching up a series of critical blocks to thwart the Boomers in-form attackers.
The Flames had to go to their bench to maintain the rage as chief play-maker and Opal, Katie-Rae Ebzery only managed 14 minutes game time after an injury and Hamson ran into foul trouble. Hayley Moffatt and Shanae Greaves both celebrated their 100th WNBL Game milestones with the win while Sarah Graham, Susannah Walmsley and Carly Boag, also off the bench, played significant minutes.
Taylor put the frighteners on the Boomers with a game high 27 points and 15 rebounds, 13 of which were defensive. Taylor amassed nine 2-pointers showing her steel in heavy traffic under the hoop. Alex Wilson and the Flames warrior-captain Belinda Snell also haunted the opposition with 14 and 10 points respectively.
Cambage though is never out of the game and struck back with vengeance from Quarter 2, finding her scoring rhythm as she piled on quick points. For a while it looked like Cambage could overhaul Taylor on the scoreboard but not to be. Cambage was reaping the rewards of the heavy Flames marking as she nailed a swag of free throws to add to her field scoring. The Boomers crept to within five or six points of the Flames on a few occasions only for the Flames to re-ignite and regain the ascendency.
The Boomers were best served by Cambage with 19 points followed by Maddie Garrick and Monique Conti each contributing 8 points. Conti played especially well in a losing side dropping two 3-point bombs at crucial times to lift Melbourne.
On-court action was no place for the faint hearted as two quality sides, both with lofty ambitions this season, lit up Brydens Stadium. The huge Flames crowd, many decked out in Halloween inspired costumes, were enthralled with the intensity of the contest. The evening was capped with some imaginative spectator games during the breaks, orchestrated by new Flames mascot Flicka.
It was certainly a night to savour as the Brydens Flames advanced to four wins from five, confirming they won’t relinquish their reigning WNBL Championship title without an almighty tussle.
The 2017/18 season still has a long way to go and the Flames have to replenish their energy stores as they face last year’s grand finalist’s, the Jayco Dandenong Rangers this Sunday, October 29 in Dandenong. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports TV from 5.00pm. Meanwhile the Boomers continue to head northward as they take on Townsville in Townsville also this Sunday.