Second-quarter slump sees Flames fall to Lynx

January 7, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The Sydney Flames’ WNBL win streak is over after falling 75-64 in a tight affair to the Perth Lynx at the Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night. 

Match summary 

A balanced first-half scoring display by the Flames, led by six from both Shyla Heal and Jocelyn Willoughby, sparked a huge 17-7 first quarter by the visitors. 

That momentum was short-lived as Perth dominated the second term, winning the period 32-13 behind an exceptional first half from ex-Flame Lauren Scherf, tallying 27 points and eight boards at half-time – as the host led 39-30. 


Perth stretched their lead in the third by winning the period by three points (21-18), with Sami Whitcomb powering the Lynx with eight points for the term. 

Five quick points by Tiana Mangakahia saw the Flames close to within seven at the start of the term before Jocelyn Willoughby chipped in and made it a two-possession game. But that was as close as Shane Heal’s side got, as the hosts ran out winners 75-64. 

Where the match was decided 

The Flames’ second defeat to Perth this season was caused by losses in the statistical categories of field goal percentage (40-32), rebounds (50-40), assists (18-14), blocks (5-1) and points in the paint (28-22) – while only managing to shoot six free-throws all game (in which they hit five of them). 

Key moment 

A slow second quarter, in which the Flames were outscored by 19 points, proved too hard to overcome in the round nine affair – especially as Sydney won the other three periods 51-43.

Players of the game 

The three standouts for the Flames in the defeat were guards Shyla Heal and Mangakahia, as well as wing Willoughby. 

Australian Opal Heal tallied 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Syracuse alum Mangakahia added 15 points, five steals, three dimes and two boards. 

Finally, New York Liberty star Willoughby contributed 16 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

What’s next 

Heal’s side, who are now 3-8 in WNBL23, will again hit the road in round 10 of the WNBL23 season – this time returning to Adelaide to face the Lightning on Thursday night. 

The battle between two teams vying for finals contention tips off at 7.30pm AEDT on January 7 at Adelaide Arena – with the match being broadcast on 9Now.