ROUND 9 PREVIEW: Flames v Spirit, Capitals, Flyers
The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have a three-game round this week in the WNBL’s Round 9. Coming off a loss against the Perth Lynx the Flames will need to gain some momentum to get some wins in this intense schedule stretch.
Flames v Bendigo Spirit: Tuesday, 7 pm at Bendigo Stadium
The Flames will take on the Bendigo Spirit to start round nine. This will be the long-awaited match-up of former Flame Anneli Maley. She is having a career season, currently averaging 18.8 points per game and a league-high 15.5 rebounds per game.
Spirit guard Leilani Mitchell will miss the rest of the season with the birth of her newborn child. So, the Spirit will be adapting their team without the Opals legend. But the Spirit still has Opal, Maddie Garrick, the two-time WNBL champion is more than capable of filling Mitchell’s shoes, but it will be a change in the scouting report no less.
This game will be a good test for Shyla Heal, without Mitchell to guard her this should be another big game from the soon-to-be Opals in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. Heal had 19 points and seven assists against the Lynx, so she should be able to pull off another big game to start this road trip.
Flames v UC Capitals: Friday, 6 pm at National Convention Centre Canberra
The Flames will take on the UC Capitals in Canberra, this game was rescheduled due to COVID and will now take place on Friday at 6 pm. The Capitals young guard Jade Melbourne was also selected for the Opals team. They’ll likely be teammates for many Opals campaigns to come making it a fun match-up to keep track on.
In our last match against the Capitals, import Brittany Sykes scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a three-point loss for the Flames. Co-captain Keely Froling will be trying to shut down a repeat performance in this head-to-head.
Flames v Southside Flyers: Sunday, 12.30 pm at Qudos Bank Arena
The last game of our triple game week finishes with the Southside Flyers at home. The Flyers had four players named to the Opals squad, so there is plenty of talent to cause the Flames’ defence strife.
The Flyers are the reigning champions but lost both Liz Cambage and WNBL Grand Final MVP Leilani Mitchell this offseason. The core and coach remain so they are still a tough team to beat.
Three different players on the Flyers are averaging 15 points or more per game, led by a championship coach. The Flames will need an all-around defensive effort, especially from the bench who will face some tough competition than usual.
These next three games will be a great test for import Rennia Davis, she looked comfortable against the Lynx, scoring 21 points and working for 13 rebounds. Davis’ athleticism should catch other teams off guard. This stretch the Flames will need to be well-rested and they’ll need to spread the minutes out, testing the benches capabilities.
If you haven’t already, you can get your tickets to Sunday’s game here