Flames smash Lightning to continue finals charge

January 17, 2024 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flames made it two straight home wins on Wednesday night by defeating the Adelaide Lightning 88-65 at Quaycentre.

The impressive victory by the Hoops Capital side was set-up by all five starters scoring in double-figures for the first time in WNBL.

Match Summary

Taylor Brazel started the game up for Adelaide with a lay-up, though Tess Madgen (in her first game at Quaycentre in Flames colours) was quick to match the board. Three for Jocelyn Willoughby saw the score tip in Adelaide’s favour, with Lauren Nicholson and Brianna Turner tugging the lead back and forth before Didi Richards claimed it back for the Flames. Nicholson put up a further three to build a comfortable gap for Sydney. Paige Bradley came in with a lay-up, before three from Richards saw Sydney up by 11 following a 12-0 run. Bradley continued to dull Adelaide’s storm, Emma Clarke and Nicholson following to see the Flames draw away. A last-minute jump shot from Cayla George had Sydney closing the first on a 16-point advantage (27-11).


Kiera Rowe came with the fire into the second, with a quick thinking lay up pulling the Flames up. Willoughby put up a lay-up to match, though Rowe was quick with another to defend Sydney’s lead. A jump shot from Brazel put three up for the Lightning, with Richards fast to shut Adelaide down. A jump shot from Liz Tonks saw the points margin close to 14, Adelaide’s storm finally started brewing, as a layup from Isobel Borlase drew the two even closer. Madgen clutched up with three, though Adelaide’s Borlase and Turner put up four to keep them on the board. Borlase closed the quarter out with a jump shot, Sydney entering half-time up by 11 (38-27). 

A lay-up from Turner broke Sydney’s double-digit lead early, and Richards quick with a lay-up of her own to build it back up. Another two from Richards and a link-up with George drew Sydney’s lead out to 13. Isabelle Bourne came with a jump shot, Nicholson and Bradley putting up three to shut her efforts down. Bourne fought back with a lay-up, though she was shut down once more by Nicholson with three. Rowe followed with a lay-up, before traded baskets between Turner and Madgen stabilised the 18-point gap. Adelaide brought the thunder to close the third quarter, with contributions from Bourne and Lauren Mansfield, pulling the margin to 14 (60-46) for the final 10.

George fired up with an early jump shot, Madgen hot on her tail to put up three. It was George Madgen link-up that broke Sydney into the 20s before five from Willoughby broke it in. A fade away from George pushed Adelaide back, though it was no match for Willoughby and Brazel as they put up consecutive jump shots. A three-point play for Madgen was met by Borlase as she put up two. Creativity from Richards and George drew the gap out to 16, before Nicholson and Bradley pulled through to push it to 23 on another (12-0) run. Three from Brazel were matched by Vanessa Panousis. The Lightning not strike hard enough, as The Flames walked away with a 23-point win (88-65).

Where the match was decided 

The win by the harbour city side was set up by superior field goal percentage (50-40), rebounds (40-34), assists (13-6), points in the paint (40-26) and points off turnovers (18-12) – while committing less turnovers (13-19).

Key moment 

Arguably the Flames’ best opening quarter (27-11) laid the platform for their ninth win of WNBL24.

Player of the game

Richards equal top-scored for the Hoops Capital side with 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

The Baylor alum and her four other starters all scored in double digits, including Nicholson (18 points, six dimes, five boards and two steals), Madgen (17 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals), Bradley (13 points, four assists, three rebounds and one steal) and George (11 points, 11 rebounds, six dimes and four steals).

Watch Guy Molloy and Tess Madgen’s post-game press conference via Sydney Flames’ YouTube channel above. While you’re there, be sure to hit subscribe, to ensure you never miss out on any of our great videos.

What’s next

The win by Guy Molloy’s side, which moves them to 9-8 on the season, now another home game against Canberra on Friday – which tips off at 6.45pm AEDT.

Tickets to the round 12 match are still available here.