McSpadden guides Flames to courageous win over Lightning

October 14, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flames secured their first River City Rebound on Saturday night, downing the Adelaide Lightning 72-69 at the Northside Indoor Sports Centre. 

Match summary 

Early baskets from Paige Bradley and Kiera Rowe gave the Flames an early 6-3 lead, which moved to 11-8 after the former hit a triple. Another three from the Texas product, combined with one from Ahlise Hurst and strong defence from the whole squad, allowed the Hoops Capital side to stretch their advantage to 10 (23-13). Despite a few last scores by Adelaide, Lara McSpadden’s work in the paint – on both ends of the floor – ensured Sydney led 25-17 after one. 

McSpadden and Bradley continued their impressive games at the start of the second term by keeping the scoreboard ticking over. But the Lightning brought the game back to just four points midway through the period. A Tayla Brazel triple made it a one-point game but Lauren Nicholson did all she could to keep the harbour city side in front heading into half-time – rattling off five-straight points. Two late buckets by McSpadden (who had nine points and 10 boards at the half) gave Sydney a 41-37 lead at the main break. 

The Flames’ lead was quickly, as triples by Isobel Borlase and Brazel gave the Lightning a four-point lead. A 12-4 start to the period saw the Lightning move up by seven. Although the Flames’ scoring dried up, exceptional defence by Kiera Rowe and McSpadden kept the black and gold in it – helping them regain the lead (53-52) following another Bradley and McSpadden pick and roll. Despite being down on troops, the Flames led 57-54 at three-quarter-time.


Sydney scored six of the first points of the term fourth but Adelaide wouldn’t go away, with continued shots from downtown – which eventually saw them take the 69-67 lead following a Jess Simons effort. The one-two punch of Bradley and McSpadden continued to cause issues for the Lightning defence – with the former’s lay-up with 2.38 to play giving the NSW side a 72-69 lead. In the final 30 seconds, Adelaide had numerous chances to tie the game but hustle plays by Hurst ensured the Flames held on for a three-point win.

Where the match was decided 

Sydney’s nail-biting win was set up by statistical victories in free-throw percentage (86.7 – 44.4), rebounds (45-40), steals (8-3), blocks (4-2), points in the paint (40-28), second chance points (14-2) and fast break points (14-2). 

Key moment  

The Flames’ start to the game (25-17) was unreal but their composure down the stretch – particularly by Bradley and Rowe – sealed the Flames‘ courageous win. 

Player of the game 

McSpadden was phenomenal for the Flames, finishing 29 points, 22 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks – to end up with an efficiency rating of plus 42. 

The other standout with point guard Bradley, tallying 20 points, eight dimes, five boards and two steals. 

What’s next 

The Flames, who a 1-1 in Brisbane, will return to the hardwood on Sunday for game three of the River City Rebound against Townsville – tipping off at 4pm AEDT. 

The fixture at the Northside Indoor Sports Centre will be streamed here.