Hoops Capital off-season wrap (May 13)

May 13, 2024 | Sydney Flames news

It’s been a busy week for Hoops Capital’s stars all over the world – none more than Flames’ Cayla George.

The Australian Opal powered her Cathay Life Tigers to the WSBL championship in Taiwan.

After splitting the first two games, the Tigers won game three 77-65 before clinching the series 90-86 on Saturday.

In game four, George produced 16 points, 22 rebounds, three assists and two blocks – seeing her named Finals MVP.

The WNBL23 MVP will now return home to begin preparations for the Paris Olympic Games with the Opals.

To the United States and Didi Richards’ Washington Mystics lost their pre-season WNBA fixture to Minnesota 83-77, with the Flames adding one point, two rebounds, one assist and two steals.

Next up for the Mystics is New York on Tuesday.

The only other Flames involved in overseas action was coach Guy Molloy, whose Southland Sharks lost their NZNBL games to Franklin (109-75) and Taranaki (107-78) over the weekend.

Closer to home in NBL1, Shaneice Swain and her Geelong United split their two round six games in the South Conference.

Geelong first lost 71-63 to Sandringham despite 19 points, three dimes, one rebound and one block from Swain.

They rebounded against Ringwood, to the tune of 81-64 – with Swain adding 30 points, 10 boards and six assists.

Geelong takes on Nunawading and Frankston this weekend.


In that same match-up against Ringwood, Flames’ Ahlise Hurst tallied 26 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, one dime and one steal.

Hurst also had 17 points, one assist and one steal in the Harks’ 103-75 loss to Diamond Valley.

Next up for Ringwood is Launceston on Saturday.

Elsewhere in South, Knox defeated both Waverley (73-63) and Eltham (79-77) – with Paige Bradley totalling 28 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and two steals across the pair of victories.

In NBL1 East, young gun Isla Juffermans made her club debut for Newcastle during the round six matches against the Centre of Excellence (losing 73-64) and Manly (losing 78-73).

Despite dropping both fixtures, Juffermans totalled 32 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and one steal.

The Falcons next face Central Coast.

Elsewhere, Sutherland’s Vanessa Panousis dropped 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals on her former team Sydney, as the Sharks edged the Comets 75-61.

Panousis’ side hosts the CoE next round.

Finally, the Norths Bears – featuring Renae Garlepp (coach), Carla Pitman and Caitlyn Martin – chalked up wins against Penrith (78-68) and Illawarra (67-58) over the weekend.

Across the triumphs, Martin had 27 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal, while Pitman added 25 points, seven boards, five dimes and one steal.

Next up for the reigning champion Bears is Hornsby.


Shifting to the Kings and Izayah Le’afa’s strong NZNBL campaign continued on Sunday.

Despite his Wellington Saints losing 105-96, Le’afa did all he could – tallying 28 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

His Saints, who are third with a 6-2 record, next play Franklin – which features Sam Timmins.

The latter’s Bulls will head into that fixture on the back of a 109-75 victory, thanks to 16 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block from Timmins.

Staying overseas, Fleur McIntyre’s Phoenix Mercury lost both their WNBA pre-season fixture to Seattle (85-59) and Los Angeles (98-85).

The Mercury take on two-time reigning champions, and Cayla George’s former side Las Vegas, on Tuesday.

Back in Australia and in NBL1 North, Shaun Bruce’s Logan lost 106-64 to Southern Districts, despite 12 points, nine dimes and four boards by the King.

The Thunder will look to respond when they host Gold Coast on Saturday.

While in NSW, Klairus Amir’s Sutherland Sharks lost 86-66 to Sydney, with the young King adding 15 points, two rebounds and two assists.

The Sharks next play the CoE.

Stay up to date with all the harbour city club’s off-season news here.