Flames make it three wins in a row on the road
The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have made it three wins in a row on the road after a hard-fought clash with the Bendigo Spirit in Bendigo.
It was a back and forward game the entire 40 minutes, with the lead changing over 10 times in this game. The match wasn’t settled until the final moments of the 61-56 win.
Keely Froling was the Flames’ bright spot again, with 18 points and eight rebounds. Froling could do no wrong against the Spirit.
The Flames’ backcourt of Kalani Purcell and Froling were stopping anything from going inside for Bendigo.
Anneli Maley was the player to watch out for, but the Flames backcourt handled her as best as you can defend the MVP favourite. Maley finished the game with 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
Maddie Garrick had a tough assignment on Shyla Heal. Garrick stuck to Heal like gum on a shoe throughout the game. Heal was held to shooting only 4-12 from the field but came up clutch at the end of the game.
Again, it was Purcell who stepped up. Getting clutch reverse layups when the Flames really needed it and defending anything that moved on the court.
Her two-way play was the key reason the Flames stayed within single digits in most of the match. Purcell finished the game with eight points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
With Heal being intensely guarded, Funda Nakkasoglu, Purcell and Froling were instrumental in going into the second half with a lead. In her last game this season due to a nose injury requiring an operation, Nakkasoglu scored 13 points and made two three-pointers.
Heal came alive in the third quarter, getting her own buckets and creating for others the Opals star was looking to close out the Spirit. But Bendigo would not go anywhere. Megan Mckay and Maley both had double-digit rebounds and the Spirit were tied 44 a piece with the Flames going into the fourth quarter.
It was a brawl in the final term, the referees put their whistles in their pockets and the two teams battled for the win. A total of 21 free throws were shot between the two teams. Neither team could get a big lead and the final minute would determine the result of the game.
After a tough night Shyla Heal ended the hero of the game, with an unsportsmanlike foul from Maley and another foul to get possession back with a few seconds left, Heal sunk four straight free throws to give the Flames the win.
Post-game head coach Shane Heal spoke to Megan Hustwaite on the broadcast.
“It was a grind but I’m really proud of the girls,” he said.
“Three in a row with such a young team, with adversity they’ve been great. At one stage we are down by nine and then we fight back to be down by six. It takes some good character and we are creating a good culture.”
Shyla Heal coming off some clutch free throws spoke with Hustwaite post-game.
“I’m so proud of the girls,” she said.
“Obviously it’s been a grind all year and we’ve been undermanned, but we stick together and play hard every game, I’m just proud of them.”
The Flames will play the Perth Lynx in our second last home game on Wednesday, March 16 at 6pm. On Sunday the Flames will have a rematch against the Spirit at Brydens Stadium, so if you haven’t already get your tickets here.