The ACUVUE Sydney Uni Flames nudged one step closer to solidifying a top two finish after defeating BDS Logan Thunder, 89-66, in Sydney on Friday night.
Suzy Batkovic-Brown led the Flames with a game-high score of 29 points followed closely by Deanna Smith with 27.
Sydney Uni got their winning confidence back after last week’s narrow loss to Canberra which rendered Eva Afeaki injured. While Afeaki watched from the sidelines, Flames fans were treated to Nat Porter’s return to her home court after sitting out for two months with a wrist injury.
Porter played solid defence but was clearly easing herself back into playing. Coach Karen Dalton noted Porter is “still finding her offensive confidence”.
Logan entered the match with intense man-to-man defence staying especially tight on Sydney Uni point guard Deanne Butler. But they couldn’t stop Deanna Smith who chalked up 12 points leading all scorers at the end of the first term.
Logan’s offence began to fall apart in the second period as bad passes and turnovers became a feature. The Flames capitalised with steals from Deanna Smith and Suzy Batkovic-Brown who turned her steal into a blistering fast break 3 point play. Logan’s Captain Kristen Veal finally entered the game after arriving late due to a flight delay but Logan’s offence withered, the Flames’ stretched their lead out to 16 at the half-time buzzer, 46-30.
In typical Flames fashion, baskets came thick and fast in the third quarter with the Flames racking up a 22 point lead in a matter of minutes. Batkovic-Brown remained on fire but Smith went from strength to strength adding 11 points in the term. Logan’s bench players rose to the occasion with 11 points but by the end of the period, a Logan win was merely a distant dream as they trailed by 23 points, 68-45.
The final period sealed the deal for Sydney Uni with Batkovic-Brown starring again. Smith continued her solid form while Coach Karen Dalton gave bench players some court-time as their lead hovered around 20 points.
Next round for the Flames is a tough one as they endeavour to beat Townsville up in North Queensland. Coach Karen Dalton said “we need to be more consistent quarter to quarter, we were a bit all over the place tonight”.
ACUVUE SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 89 (Suzy Batkovic-Brown 29, Deanna Smith 27, Mikaela Dombkins 13) bt
BDS LOGAN THUNDER 66 (Natalie Purcell 18, Kristen Veal 11, Cassie Smith 9)
At ACUVUE Sports Hall, Sydney
By Rebecca Landon for WNBL Media
Photos courtesy of Rob Sheeley