Flames secure first-ever win at Quaycentre
The Sydney Flames created history on Friday night securing their first-ever win at the Quaycentre by defeating the Canberra Capitals 87-72.
The triumph was the Flames’ second against their arch-rivals Canberra this season.
The Flames made the perfect start to the round seven fixture thanks to a three-point play by Shyla Heal, which began an early 12-7 run to the hosts – helped by strong inside scoring by Hannah Sjerven. That lead ballooned to 10 after Tiana Mangakahia’s driving and-one, before the high fouling quarter (where 15 were called between the two sides) ended 23-18 to the Hoops Capital side.
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Back-to-back buckets by skipper Keely Froling put Sydney up by eight points early in the second, before the rising foul count dried up scoring for both sides. Canberra drew level at 27-all following a Nicole Munger three-point play, leading to the two trading baskets for the next few minutes. Behind the strong play of Heal late, the harbour city side led 42-40 at the main break.
That lead quickly grew to six, with the hosts opening on a 6-2 run but some Rae Burrell magic (14 of her side’s 20 points for the term) dragged Canberra back into the contest. Thankfully for the hosts, Heal continued her aggressive play and managed to finish a number of tough shots around the hoop – as Sydney went into the fourth up 63-60.
Keely 🤝 Shyla#FlameOn pic.twitter.com/Op8nQUIMB3
— Sydney Flames (@TheSydneyFlames) December 23, 2022
Sweet shooting from Mangakahia and two baskets inside by captain Froling allowed Sydney to jump out to a 73-66 lead and force Kristen Veal to call a time-out. Despite Munger trying her best for the visitors, clutch driving lay-ups by guards Mangakahia and Heal sealed Sydney’s second win of the WNBL23 campaign 87-72.
Where the match was decided
Sydney’s win was defined by their superior field goal percentage (53-43), rebounding (36-34), assists (17-10), steals (5-2) and points in the paint (50-28).
Heading into the last quarter, the game was anyone’s at 63-60 but a 21-12 final term, sparked by Syracuse alum Mangakahia (12 points for the quarter) and the Flames’ tough defence, secured Shane Heal’s side the 15-point triumph.
Player of the game
Despite being plagued by fouls early on, Froling dominated the last three quarters for the Flames and finished with 26 points and six rebounds.
She was well supported by guards Heal (22 points, eight boards, six dimes and two steals) and Mangakahia (15 points, five boards, two dimes and one steal), as well as import Jocelyn Willoughby (10 points and two assists).
Heal’s side, who improve to 2-7, will remain in Sydney ahead of next Friday’s Hoops Capital double-header at Qudos Bank Arena.
During the second of four double-headers with the Sydney Kings, the Flames will take on the Capitals for the third and final time from 2pm AEDT, before the reigning NBL champions battle Tasmania from 4pm.
Tickets to the hoops extravaganza are available here.