Flames grind out road win against Lightning

December 6, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flames recorded their third win of the season on Wednesday, edging the Adelaide Lightning 66-64 at the Adelaide Arena. 

The gritty round six win – Sydney’s third straight over Adelaide – moves the Flames to 3-3 on the season and solidifies fifth spot on the ladder for them. 

Match summary 

The Flames scored the first two buckets of the contest through Cayla George and Didi Richards – both of which were assisted by Tess Madgen. The visitors didn’t have it all their own way, with Adelaide getting out on the break and getting their noses in front (10-7). Five straight by Adelaide product Madgen steadied the ship for the Hoops Capital side, which was combined by timely scores by Lauren Nicholson. The pick-and-roll combination of Vanessa Panousis and Lara McSpadden then kept the scoreboard ticking over the Flames, as the two sides went into the first break all tied up at 21-all. 


Thet two rivals could only combine for four points through the first 3.25 minutes of the second period, as scoring dried up significantly. While the game turned into a grind, Emma Clarke was making things happen on both ends of the court for the Flames, as Nicholson continued to attack the ring at will. A late banked triple by Australian Opals skipper Madgen ensured Guy Molloy’s side held a slender two-point (34-32) advantage at half-time. 

The low-scoring affair continued in the third, with George producing numerous big blocks on the defensive end for Sydney. The reigning MVP then turned provider, setting up scores to McSpadden and Nicholson. The latter caught fire at the end of the term with a pair of triples and a deep two, to give the harbour city side a 49-44 lead going into the fourth period. 

Backdoor cuts by the hosts helped them reduce the margin to a one-possession game early in the fourth before scores by Madgen and George kept Sydney in the lead. Both teams’ scoring returned to how it was in the first period, with Nicholson and George trading deep threes with Isabel Borlase – as Sydney moved out to a 63-55 lead. The hosts then rattled off nine unanswered points, to lead 64-63 with 1.29 left to play. Down the stretch, a jumper by Sutherland junior Nicholson gave the Flames the lead before a free-throw by Madgen made it 66-64 with 2.7 on the clock. As time expired, a clutch defensive stop by Sydney gave them the important two-point win. 

Where the match was decided  

In the defensive contest, the Flames secured the victory on the back of statistical wins in field goal percentage (40-37 per cent), second-chance points (13-6) and blocks (3-2).

Key moment  

An eight-point spurt by Nicholson, which highlighted a 9-3 run in the final 1.51 of the third, proved pivotal in the Flames, as they used that run to catapult them to the triumph. 

Player of the game 

All three of the Flames’ Opals in uniform stood out Wednesday, with Nicholson top-scoring with 20 points to go along with two rebounds and one steal.

While George (15 points, 15 rebounds, four dimes, three blocks and two steals) and Madgen (16 points, four boards, four assists and one steal) played massive roles in the win.

What’s next  

Molloy’s side now has a quick turnaround, travelling to Canberra to take on the Capitals on Friday, December 8 from 7pm AEDT. 

That fixture, which will be Tess Madgen’s 250th in the WNBL, will be broadcast on 9Now. 

The Flames’ next home game is on Saturday, December 16 against Townsville at Quaycentre, with tickets for the 6pm clash still available here.