Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have triumphed in the clash of the universities, defeating UC Capitals 68-45 at home.
After losing in an extra-time thriller to SEQ last week, the Flames rebound started with the first 2 points of the game from #10 Captain Katie Ebzery. From here the deficit grew, leaving the visitors chasing.
Fresh from finishing her HSC exams, #4 Tahlia Tupaea returned for the Flames in fine form, leading overall in assists (4) and contributing valuable points with an impressive shot in the third quarter among the highlights.
Carolyn Swords again produced quality play. The #30 US import’s size and strategy created havoc for Canberra’s defence as she imposed her dominance to finish top scorer (17 pts) and deliver crucial blocks (3).
“She was outstanding. Carolyn did a great job of asserting herself and all the girls did well finding her and getting her the ball,” said Coach Shannon Seebohm. Capitals Coach Carrie Graf also noted that Swords was clearly the MVP.
At halftime the Flames led 41-16 and a repeat of their Round 2 victory was on the cards.
Supported by an eruption of crowd applause, #23 Rohanee Cox entered the third beaming with energy. Back on the court, Cox grew the gap to tally 5 points for the Friday night affair as well as 3 rebounds.
In what seemed a whole team tussle, the Flames claimed possession towards the end of period three to run the full court for Ebzery to execute 2 points. This exciting play was swiftly answered by #11 Jess Bibby, who was also celebrating her 377th game with the Caps, a milestone equalled by Lucille Bailie and Rachael Sporn’s record of most games played in the WNBL.
“It’s hard to think about those games right now. We know we’re better than this,” said Bibby. The Capitals are a very proud club boasting seven WNBL Championships and so are desperate to revive their season.
Down but not out, the Capitals #7 Stephanie Talbot absorbed some of the Flames final pressure to lead in four categories including points (19pts) and rebounds (11). #21 Reneee Montgomery also never gave in despite being pounded on the board. Fast on her feet, Montgomery matched it with Ebzery but unfortunately suffered a suspected grade 1 injury in the fourth quarter. #10 Abbie Bishop also jammed her thumb and will require an x-ray come Monday.
“Hopefully our two injuries aren’t substantial and hopefully we have Lauren Jackson on the court for some minutes next week,” revealed Coach Carrie Graf who has led the Capitals to six of their seven titles.
In keeping with Coach Seebohm’s hopes of playing the full roster as much as possible, Flames newcomer #15 Annabel Star made her WNBL debut in the final three minutes.
After a promising touch and gaining a taste for the league, Star expressed that tonight’s opportunity was definitely a life goal.
“Such a surreal feeling when Shannon told me I was on. I thought he was joking when he first came to the bench. It was an unreal experience and it was great to have one of my little cousins run up to me straight after the game,” Star said.
At the fulltime buzzer, the Flames recorded their fourth win of the season, taking out the University of Canberra Capitals 68-45.
The Flames fly up to Townsville ahead of their next game against the Fire on Sunday 8 November.
When asked about the short turnaround, Seebohm stated, “The girls are professional in their recovery and will be ready to go.”