The ACUVUE Sydney Uni Flames tipped off their Canberra road trip with an efficient 87-51 victory over the Australian Institute of Sport on Friday night.
After an arduous six days of WNBL training and a four-day Australian Development Camp the AIS athletes backed up to the number two team in the league, the Flames, in what was always going to be an uphill battle for the AIS.
Suzy Batkovic-Brown led all scorers with 20pts, with Ellie Manou contributing 16p and Deanna Smith 13. Flames forward Natalie Porter had nine points, five rebounds and two assists in nearl 24 minutes on court in her return from a broken wrist. Tess Madgen topped the AIS scoring with 16 points and Sara Blicavs chipped in with 8 points.
Sydney quickly piled on a 15-2 score in the first five minutes of the game, while AIS Coach Brown rotated his bench in an effort to keep fresh legs on the court. With a comfortable early lead Sydney Uni Coach Dalton also went to her bench giving her starting group a rest. At the close of the first quarter Sydney led 29-15.
AIS continued to struggle in the second quarter as their mental lapses gifted Sydney Uni open opportunities. The Flames continued to rotate their players and took a 23-point lead into the half time break. Batkovic-Brown, Smith and Manou lead the scoring for Sydney Uni with eight points apiece and Tess Madgen led all scorers with 9 points for AIS.
The third quarter saw the AIS find a burst of energy as they picked up the tempo, only to lose bigs Tayla Roberts and Gretel Tippett to the bench as they collected their fourth fouls early in the quarter, forcing the AIS into a smaller line up and leaving Nadeen Payne as the only big to battle Batkovic-Brown and Natalie Porter.
The Flames went about business with all players seeing good court time as they kept their double digit lead at the final break leading 59-43.
Tippett fouled out of the game two minutes into the last quarter with Roberts coming back onto the court carrying four fouls.
The Tute were trying everything to find a final burst of energy but eventually ran out of legs as a business like Flames closed out the game with a comfortable win, 87 to 51.
Sydney Uni now has to recover to play the Canberra Capitals tomorrow night at the AIS Arena. You can follow that game on WNBL Radio.
ACUVUE SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 87 (S Batkovic-Brown 20, E Manou 16, D Smith 13) bt
AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT 51 (T Madgen 16, S Blicavs 8, T Lavey 6, N Payne 6)
At AIS Training Hall
By Michele Menso for WNBL Media
Photos courtesy of Eric Li for www.canberrapictorial.com.au