Game review: Flames break through for first win of the season

January 25, 2022 | Sydney Flames news

The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have secured their first win of the season, beating the Bendigo Spirit 83-72 in a lights-out shooting effort.

Co-captain Keely Froling got the Flames started scoring five points in the early stages of the first quarter. Froling was just bigger and stronger than anyone else on the court.

The Spirit used former Flame Anneli Maley as their lead ball-handler, Shyla Heal and the rest of the Flames pressured her hard on the ball. Making the Spirits offence slow to get started.

Kalani Purcell had a great stretch to get the Flames’ momentum going, with a couple of steals, an offensive board and a three to break the spirit of Bendigo early.

Afterwards, the Spirit put together a good run, the teams went bucket-for-bucket for multiple minutes in the second quarter. But Froling continued to dominate, finishing her second and-one for the game.

The Flames’ were relentless defensively, being a youthful squad they have the legs to maintain high-pressure full-court defence all game. And that’s what they did, forcing 17 turnovers.

Through Maley’s efforts, Bendigo’s great defence and strong inside scoring, the Spirit made it a single-digit game.

The Flames were called for multiple technicals, giving Bendigo some easy points at the line. Megan McKay was the Spirits bright spot in the half, scoring seven points and handing out three assists.

Co-captain Lauren Mansfield gave the Flames an edge, scoring two three’s back-to-back ending the quarter with a third three. It gave the Flames a 12-point buffer going into the half.

The third quarter was a back and forth the entire way, Bendigo kept within the game and the Flames were slowly staying ahead. Off the backs of Heal and Froling, the Flames pushed the game over into a double-digit lead.

Bendigo would just not go away, only until the remaining minutes of the fourth quarter. But the Flames finished well, taking lessons from their game against the Perth Lynx on Sunday.

Kalani Purcell was the backbone of the Flames all night, she finished with eight steals and was pivotal in stopping Bendigo from making a run offensively with her game awareness.

The Flames’ hot shooting is what made the difference overall, they shot 48 percent from the field and 53 percent from three (17-32). Especially Mansfield, who made 7-11 three-pointers.

Shyla Heal had a game-high 22 points and also had four assists in the first win of the season.

Maley finished her first game against the Flames with 20 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in a heroic solo effort.

The Flames’ first win on the season will be short-lived as they travel to Canberra to play the UC Capitals on Friday night. Read the game preview here.

The Flames then take on Southside Flyers at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday as part of a big double header with the Kings, who play the Perth Wildcats.