Nicholson brings the boom as Flames smash Melbourne

December 20, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flames have roared back into the winner’s circle with a massive 86-58 victory over the Melbourne Boomers on Wednesday night. 

The round eight victory, played at Melbourne Sports Centre – Parkville, saw the Hoops Capital side produce their best performance under coach Guy Molloy in WNBL24. 

Match summary  

Strong defence by the Flames, highlighted by a steal by Kiera Rowe (in her first start of WNBL24) and a block by Cayla George (in her first game back in Melbourne against the Boomers), saw them start the game on a 5-0 run – keeping the hosts scoreless for three and a half minutes. After the slow offensive start from both sides, back-to-back-to-back triples by Emma Clarke (two) and Didi Richards gave the Hoops Capital side a 16-12 advantage. Lauren Nicholson joined the three-point party as the clock ticked down, helping the Flames lead 20-16 at the first change. 


The harbour city side’s hot shooting continued in the second (hitting seven of their first 11 threes) when Clarke and Vanessa Panousis nailed two straight from the same corner – giving the visitors a 26-16 lead. A shot from downtown by Rowe and a short jumper by Richards ensued but scores by former Flame Keely Froling kept the hosts in touch. Late scores by import duo Richards and Paige Bradley, followed by a lay-up as time expired by Lara McSpadden, gave Guy Molloy’s side a 42-29 lead at the main break. 

Another Nicholson triple opened proceedings for the Flames in the third quarter before Clarke made contributions on both ends of the floor off the bench. Rowe’s lockdown defence restricted the Boomers’ offence, while Nicholson’s timely scores – from downtown and the charity stripe – ensured the visitors remained up by double digits. 14 points for the period by Sutherland product Nicholson gave the Flames a 60-48 lead at the final change, despite a Monique Conti three as time expired. 

Bradley and Nicholson threes kept the scoreboard ticking over for Sydney in the early stages of the fourth, before the former nailed another, on the back of a sharp pass by Clarke, to put their side up 72-53. A quick backdoor connection by George and Bradley moved the lead out past 20 

Where the match was decided  

The Flames’ hot shooting from downtown (18/33 compared to 5/25) proved the main difference between the two sides from a statistical perspective. 

Other statistical wins came in rebounds (42-39), assists (24-11), steals (12-8), blocks (4-0) and bench points (29-17). 

Key moment  

A massive third quarter by Nicholson, which saw her score 14 of her team’s 18 points of the term, laid the platform for the Flames to secure their fifth win of the season. 

Player of the game 

Nicholson was nothing short of exceptional in the triumph, tallying 24 points, including 6/8 from downtown, four rebounds, three assists and one steal. 

The other standouts were the hot-shooting Clarke, who nailed 5/7 triples on her way to 16 points, five boards, four dimes, three steals and one block, and point guard Bradley, who finished one dime short of her first WNBL double-double (14 points and nine assists). 

What’s next  

Molloy’s side, who are now 5-6, now return to Sydney on Friday, December 22 for a clash with Bendigo at Quaycentre , tipping off at 6.45pm – with tickets available here.