Keely Froling leads Flames in major upset over Perth

March 6, 2022 | Sydney Flames news

The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have pulled off a major upset against the Perth Lynx in Perth tonight, 66-63.

Off the back of Keely Froling’s monster performance of 30 points and 21  rebounds, the Flames have secured one of the best wins of the WNBL season to date.

Without Shyla Heal, Funda Nakkasoglu or Lauren Mansfield the team lacked a key ball handler and three of our best scorers.

This is where forward Keely Froling showed off her diversity as a player, running as ‘point-Keely’ in the full-court as well as posting up and getting to the free-throw line 13 times.

Perth’s Jackie Young was on fire during the entire match, she scored 28 points.

The Flames led by five after the first quarter, with heart and determination the Flames were not going down without a fight.

Young continued her scoring spree while Opals captain Sami Whitcomb came alive in the second quarter.

The Flames held strong, off the back of Kalani Purcell’s defence and Froling refusing to let the game go. In her first WNBL start, Katie Deeble provided some quality minutes early on. She scored eight points in the first half.

The Flames dominated the third quarter, they scored 24 points and the Lynx were struggling to grab any rebounds against the Flames’ frontcourt of Purcell and Froling. The team finished with 51 rebounds, with 19 offensive rebounds.

Perth clawed back late, closing the margin to a single-digits in the fourth quarter; the Flames had a chance to beat the top of the ladder Lynx if they held strong. Perth’s defence tightened up in the second half, making it near impossible for the Flames to score outside of some hard-nosed layups.

Exhaustion was the Flames’ biggest challenge late. The Flames were stretched thin, three players played over 36 minutes and development players Deeble and fellow development player Chyra Evans both played over 20 minutes.

The Lynx were triple-teaming players late in the game, the Flames struggled under the pressure with Perth converting almost all of the turnovers into points.

But through sheer effort and heart, the Flames pulled out a mighty win.

Post game Keely Froling told the broadcast it felt good to grab this win after such a tough season.

“To be so down in numbers and to get the win, I’m really proud of the girls,” she said.

“We’ve had so many close games this season, we’ve had so many games against the top teams like that. We know we’re right there and tonight it just came together.

“We go into every game believing we have the chance to win. We know we have the group and we know we work really hard so, it probably just doesn’t show in our games or we’ve shown glimpses of it. Tonight was the first time we showed it for 40 minutes.”

Post-game Shane Heal spoke about the morale of the team in the huddle.

“It’s fantastic. We had five players out tonight, four development players and our girls just fought,” he said.

“Keely Froling, Kalani Purcell are the future of this club. The way we’ve stuck together … when you got through so many close losses and so much adversity, it’s really easy to turn on each other and point the finger but these girls just haven’t done that.

“We’ve got a three-year plan and I feel like this vindicates all the hard work they’ve done.”

The Flames will take on the Southside Flyers and the Bendigo Spirit next week in a two-game Regional Victoria road trip.