Flames fight hard but fall to Flyers

January 12, 2024 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flamed slumped to their third straight loss on Friday night, going down 79-73 to the Southside Flyers at the State Basketball Centre. 

Despite the result, the Flames hold on to fifth spot with six games to go before the post-season. 

Match summary

Imports Didi Richards and Mercedes Russell exchanged jumpers to open the scoring for both sides. Scores from Kiera Rowe and Lauren Nicholson pushed the Flames into a 9-5 lead. That was short-lived as five straight by the hosts, including an and-one by Bec Cole in game 250, put them up by one. Tess Madgen made an impact on both ends of the court when she was injected into the game for the Flames. A late triple by Leilani Mitchell gave Southside a 22-17 advantage at the first break.  


Nicholson continued to cook for the Hoops Capital side, nailing a triple before finding Lara McSpadden with a crafty dime. But buckets by Lauren Jackson, both inside and out, kept the Flyers’ noses in front midway through the term. The harbour city’s ball movement and passing through the hosts’ zone, saw them regain the lead – following a McSpadden and Rowe connection. Soon after Rowe linked up with Cayla George and Paige Bradley went coast-to-coast, putting the visitors up 38-32 – thanks largely to their strong defence. Carley Ernst’s putback as time expired made it 38-34 at half-time. 

Seven quick ones by Jackson saw that lead evaporated within minutes of the resumption. Nicholson and Emma Clarke steadied the ship for Guy Molloy’s side. Those scores, combined by contributions by import duo Richards and Bradley and a triple by George, powered Sydney to a 53-45 lead. The latter then picked up her fourth foul, seeing McSpadden enter the fray and score soon after. Jackson was the lone player keeping the hosts in the round 11 contest for large parts of the third. Sydney remained in front thanks to timely baskets by McSpadden but a late flurry by Southside, capped by a jumper by Jasmine Dickey put the Victorian-based outfit up 59-58 at the final change. 

In the fourth, George returned to the fray and tied up the score with a big triple, which was promptly followed by a shot from downtown by Vanessa Panousis. But Cole answered with a three-pointer of her own, forcing Molloy into a time-out, as the Flames fell behind 71-65 with 5.11 to play. Richards closed it to four with a tough bucket inside, but Jackson pushed it back out to a three-possession game. A Molloy time-out halted that run, as Nicholson and Bradley’s lay-ups made it 75-71 with 1.44 to play. Despite a late score by NSW junior McSpadden, the Flyers held on to win by six points. 

Where the match was decided  

The crucial win by the Flyers was set up statical wins in field goal percentage (50-45), three-point percentage (38-25), steals (7-5) and blocks (3-0). 

Key moment  

Jackson’s quick seven points after half-time saw her find her groove for the rest of the game, ending the match with a game-high 28 points. 

Player of the game 

Nicholson was once again the standout for the Flames, finishing with 17 points, eight assists, three rebounds and one steal. 

The other two to score in double-figures in the loss were Richards (16 points to go along with four dimes) and George (10 combined with seven boards). 

What’s next  

Molloy’s side, who are now 7-8, now return to Sydney on Sunday to play in the first-ever Pink Hoops double-header at Qudos Bank Arena. 

The Flames start proceedings on the McGrath Foundation-partnered event at 1.15pm AEDT with their round 11 fixture with Perth, followed by the Kings and Breakers match-up at 3.45pm. 

Tickets for the huge day of hoops are still available here.