Flames determined to keep finals hopes alive against Caps

December 28, 2022 | Sydney Flames news

After winning two of their past four games, the Sydney Flames will look to continue their finals charge when they take the Qudos Bank Arena hardwood on Friday.

Standing in their way is Canberra, who Shane Heal’s side has beaten on both occasions in WNBL23.

“The way we executed in the fourth quarter last game was great and it’s something we’ve lacked so far this season,” said Heal, who highlighted the play of guard Tiana Mangakahia in the fourth quarter last week.


“Against a number of the top teams, we’ve been right there but let yourselves down both offensively and defensively at the end.

“As a group, we’ve learnt from those smaller losses, while also taking positives from our last-up win against Canberra.

“Every game and win from here on in is massive for us and this one against Canberra is one which we’re going in expecting to win.

“Then we take on Perth, who sit just ahead of us on the ladder, so we’ve got a big opportunity now to try and string some wins together.

 “We’ve got a favourable schedule in early January, so we’re all keen to make the most of it, as we continue to push for the playoffs.”

Although Canberra is yet to record a win this campaign, Heal knows they have plenty of weapons to be wary of.

“Canberra made some big shots last week, in particular [Rae] Burrell had a really big half, so we’re going to have to try and lock down her along with Jade Melbourne – who I thought we did a really good job on by restricting her to two points,” the second-year coach said.

“The biggest thing for us was Jade doesn’t usually get doubled like that, so we’ll be getting after her again – because she obviously a very talented young kid.

“We’ll be out to restrict both of them on Friday but in saying that, they have plenty of players who can hurt you if you give them the opportunity.

“There’s always plenty that goes into a game plan that works and doesn’t work, so hopefully we can play for the full 40 on Friday and get the job done and string two wins together for the first time this season.”

The Flames’ round eight clash with Canberra from 5pm AEDT Friday is the first game of the Hoops Capital double-header at Qudos Bank Arena – with the Kings battling the JackJumpers after at 7.30pm.

“The double-headers are great – you walk into that big stadium and it’ll be exciting to see the crowd gradually build throughout our game in the lead-up to the Kings,” he said.

“I’m confident the girls can put in a show and give our fans a chance to appreciate the skill and talent of these players, which I see each and every day.”

Tickets for the hoops extravaganza can be purchased here.