Flames fall to Fire at Qudos Bank Arena

January 15, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

In a gallant effort at Qudos Bank Arena, the Sydney Flames went down 92-77 to the Townsville Fire on Sunday, January 15.

The defeat, in the first game of the Hoops Capital double-header with the Kings, sees Sydney’s finals chances hang by the thread.

Match summary 

Early buckets by Jocelyn Willoughby, Keely Froling and Shyla Heal saw the hosts jump out to an 11-4 advantage and force Townsville to call a timeout. But the visitors then went on an 11–0 run, to take the lead – which they carried into quarter-time 17-16. 


A barrage of triples by Shyla Heal and Vanessa Panousis restored the host’s lead temporarily, as Mikaeka Ruff put the Fire back in front. Regular scores by US import Willoughby kept her Hoops Capital side within striking distance – combating the efforts of Fire guard Steph Reid. As the clock wound down, efforts on both ends of the court by Hannah Sjerven ensured it was a two-possession game (42-36) going into the main break. 

Triples by Lauren Nicholson and Reid pushed the Fire’s lead out to double digits but baskets by Tiana Mangakahia and Froling brought the harbour city side back to within seven midway the period. That was as close as Heal’s outfit got in the third, with six straight by Reid pushing Townsville’s advantage out to 17 (73-56) at the final change. 

Any chances of a Flame fightback in the fourth were put to bed early, as the Fire opened the period on a 9-3 run. From there, Shannon Seebohm’s side pushed on and recorded their eight win of the season 92-77. 

Where the match was decided 

The Fire won the match on the back of statistical triumphs in field goal percentage (53-38), rebounds (42-29), assists (24-14), steals (10-3), points in the paint (48-18) and bench points (22-11). 

Key moment 

The Flames started the match strong but lost the second and third periods 56-40, which proved to be the difference between the two WNBL sides in the round 10 fixture. 

Player of the game 

In a losing effort, Froling, sporting battle wounds from the previous win against Adelaide, did all she could – tallying 16 points, eight rebounds and one assist. 

Teammates Heal (17 points, two boards and two dimes) and Willoughby (17 points, one rebound, one assist and on steal) also scored in double-figures in the defeat. 

What’s next 

Heal’s side, who are now 4-10 in WNBL23, have a quick turnaround and host the Southside Flyers on Wednesday, January 18 at Quaycentre. 

The match, featuring Australian basketball royalty Lauren Jackson, tips off at 5.30pm AEDT. 

Tickets to the round 11 fixture are still available here.