Froling’s heroics not enough to secure the win in Townsville
Keely Froling’s heroics were not enough for the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames to get the win on the road over the Townsville Fire who beat the Flames 84-63.
Froling scored a WNBL career-high of 31 points, a season-high for any Flames player this season.
Stephanie Blicavs on the broadcast said it best, “at this point Keely could kick the ball and it would go in”.
A quick attack from the Flames got the offence started, Kalani Purcell and Keely Froling got to the line before two minutes passed on the clock. They forced pressure on the defence not to foul for the rest of the quarter.
Froling went coast-to-coast after grabbing a rebound and that momentum was what the Flames needed. The Fire were on a roll, with Monique Billings and Lauren Nicholson scoring close to 20 points in the quarter.
There were early minutes for many of our development players, with Morgan Yaeger starting and Katie Deeble with Chyra Evans all getting first-quarter minutes.
The Fire went on a tear in the final minutes of the first, they made three of their four three-point attempts and the Fire’s bench unit caught the Flames by surprise.
It was a scoring bonanza, by the end of the first half, the teams scored a combined 77 points. With Froling leading the way with 17 first-half points.
The Flames’ defence held strong, without Shyla Heal leading the offence the team had to double-down on their defensive mindset and did well against the potent Fire offence; especially from Purcell and Yaeger.
But Townsville broke the game open in the third quarter, scoring 22 points in the term with Stephanie Reid causing the Flames trouble in back-to-back third quarters. Last week she scored 10 points in the third and pulled off a similar display against the Flames defence this week, finishing the game with 17 points.
The Flames showed heart at the start of the fourth with back-to-back three’s, it was the spark the offence needed early on. Almost switching the game’s momentum within minutes. With some no-look passes from Purcell, and Funda continuing her hot streak the Flames were a chance to make a huge comeback.
One of the bright spots in the fourth was the tenacious defence. Some creative defensive zones by coach Shane Heal made Townsville uncomfortable enough to give the Flames a way to claw back.
But Townsville is a tough team, an all-round team effort made it difficult for an undermanned Flames to overcome the deficit created in the third quarter. Lauren Nicholson, coming off an Opals camp scored 23 points and sealed the win for the Fire in Townsville.
The Flames next game will be against the Melbourne Boomers on Sunday, February 20 at 3pm at the State Basketball Centre.
Shyla Heal and the Opals will play their next two games between the Flames’ next game. The Opals will take on Serbia at 7am on Sunday morning and then Korea at 1am on Monday on ESPN and Kayo.