Flames defeat Lightning in first-ever Pink Game

February 24, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flames finished their WNBL23 home matches on a high on Friday night, defeating the Adelaide Lightning 101-91 at Quaycentre, during the club’s first-ever Pink Round.

The point total marked the club’s highest score this campaign and marked Sydney’s second win against Adelaide during the 2022-23 season. 

Overall, the club’s sponsors and owners donated $12,100 to partners The McGrath Foundation after the Flames hit 11 three-pointers – which included Akasha Brewing, Beyond Bank, Budget, Carma, Cygnett, Salon Warehouse and South Break Media.


Fellow WNBL clubs Adelaide and Southside also donated to the cause and the final amount raised in total is yet to be calculated. 

Fans wanting to donate can still do so here. 

Match summary 

Adelaide hit their first three shots, to lead 7-3 early on – with Jocelyn Willoughby opening the Flames’ account with an all-important three (with $550 per triple being donated to The McGrath Foundation by the club’s partners). Behind a couple of scores from Keely Froling, including a three, and Tiana Mangakahia, the hosts went on a 7-2 run to lead 14-13. The hot shooting was contagious, with Froling and Emma Clarke joining the three-point party, as Shelley Gorman’s side led 24-15. As the quarter wound down, the hosts led by as many as 13 before going into the first change up 32-23. 

In the second, the pair traded baskets (10 apiece) with neither side backing down. Lightning import Jacinta Monroe then sparked her side and closed the margin to just seven. But back-to-back shots from downtown by Mangakahia and Vanessa Panousis put an end to that and moved the Hoops Capital side back out to a 13-point advantage. A late basket by Kiera Rowe, set up by Froling, ensured the hosts carried a 58-46 lead into half-time. 

A 5-0 run early in the period, including a Rowe triple, forced the visitors to call a time-out. That worked, as Nat Hurst’s side went on a run of their own (7-0) closing to game to 66-60 midway through the term. A tough and-one by Monroe made it a one-possession game as the quarter wound down before a Brooke Basham lay-up in the final few seconds put the Lightning up 74-73 at three-quarter-time. 

The harbour city side regained the lead early in the fourth thanks to a Panousis triple and strong bucket by skipper Froling. The lead continued to trade hands in the last term, with a Mangakahia three giving Sydney the 85-82 lead with 5.39 to play. More inspired play by Syracuse alum Mangakahia, including a clutch three, steal leading to free-throws and and-one (seeing her score eight of the hosts’ 10 points, in a two-minute period), put Sydney up by nine. Shots from the charity stripe from Willoughby and Mangakahia in the final minute secured the Flames the 10-point win. 

Where the match was decided 

In the high-scoring affair, in which both sides shot better than 50 per cent from the field and 90 per cent from the free-throw line, the Flames secured the win thanks to an 11-6 three-point tally as well as forcing 16-9 turnovers (thanks to a 10-4 steal count) – leading to 20-7 points on turnovers and 20-11 fast-break points. 

Key moment  

A huge 28-17 final quarter, inspired by 13 points by Mangakahia, secured the Flames their sixth win of the season. 

Players of the game 

Hard to split the incredible performances of Mangakahia, Froling and Willoughby in the win. 

Mangakahia tallied 27 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals in the win, while captain Froling added a game-high 30 points, eight boards, three dimes and three swipes. 

While newly crowned Flames MVP Willoughby contributed 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal. 

What’s next 

The Flames, who are now 6-13 this season, will head north to take on the Townsville Fire for the second game of their round 15 double-header. 

The match tips off at 4pm AEDT at the Townsville Entertainment Centre, with the fixture being broadcast live on 9Now.