The Flames stay close in a Boomers loss

December 23, 2021 | Sydney Flames news

In what was the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames best game so far this season, the Flames narrowly fell short against the Melbourne Boomers in a gutsy 77-83 loss.

Flames guard Shyla Heal lived up to her superstar potential as the game MVP with a game-high 29 points, eight rebounds, four assists.


Boomers quick start with two three-pointers from Eziyoda Magbegor and Tess Madgen, pushing it to a 0-10 start for the Flames. Heal hit a three to start the Flames offence and it was a quick turnaround back to an even match.

The Boomers got to the ring and forced the defence to foul, shooting seven free-throws making all of them in the first.

The second quarter was Cayla George’s, the Opal scored four easy points at the basket and caused anxiety for the Flames defence for the rest of the game.

The Flames responded by putting Keely Froling in to guard her, but the Boomers ran the break with imports Lindsay Allen and Tiffany Mitchell. While Magbegor cleaned the glass with putback after putback.

Late in the second, the Flames heated up the pressure, forcing an eight-second violation and finessing around the Boomers interior defence at the ring.

The Boomers ball movement caused headaches for the Flames. Both teams scored evenly in the early stages of the third quarter, but the Flames had to work for their points while the Boomers scored effortlessly.

After the first quarter, the Flames’ defensive intensity flipped. Throughout the game, they double-teamed efficiently and played full-court defence with purpose. And the offence didn’t lack either. The team fed the rollers, making it a dangerous situation for the Boomers to guard.

Within the last few minutes of the third Heal caught fire, scoring in bunches and running the team’s offence. Her forceful attack to the basket kept the Flames within reach.

The Flames leaned on co-captain Lauren Mansfield heavily, she finished the game with 12 points and nine assists in crucial moments. She has been the consistent rock for the Flames so far this season.

The intensity kept up through the final stages, triple-teaming George (which caused a turnover), who caused them issues in the second quarter.

The Flames played their best basketball all season in the second half of this game. They had hands everywhere on defence and passion on both ends, the Flames grabbed 15 offensive boards and forced 13 turnovers.

Post-game Flames head coach Shane Heal spoke about the close loss.

What went right for Shyla Heal?

“Shyla found her stroke in the second half, that was the positive thing,” Shane Heal said.

“She was aggressive when we needed to put points on the board. It was the best second half we have had, she led the way.”

How did you increase the Flames intensity from last game to this game?

“I didn’t think we played great defence, we gave up more points than we scored but we were playing against a great team,” Heal said.

“I thought our energy in the first half was really bad, we gave up 47 points. There’s a lot of things we can control but we have to keep learning, building and fighting.”

What is the number one thing you take from this game? 

“I think the last message we left was if we don’t play with the energy, we are down 22 points,” Heal said.

“When we play with energy, we can compete with anyone in the league.”

What are you excited about finally playing back at Brydens Stadium on the 29th of December? 

“I think it’s going to be different for us,” Heal said.

“It’s close to where we live, it’s a lot of people in a smaller space, it’s going to be exciting. Playing against Bendigo,  who already have a win on the board and we need to fight and get our first win.”


The next Flames game is at Brydens Stadium, our first game at the home of the Flames on Wednesday, December 29 at 6pm against the Bendigo Spirit. It will be the return of former Flame Anneli Maley. Get your tickets here.