Belinda Snell produced some tough defence in the Flames’ win. Pic: Rob Gleeson.
Belinda Snell produced some tough defence in the Flames’ win. Pic: Rob Gleeson.

Flames burn bright against WNBL title contenders

THEY might be last on the ladder but on the court the Sydney Uni Flames have pulled off the biggest upset of the season with a shock defeat of a favourite for the 2018/19 WNBL crown.

On the comeback from injury and concussion it was Tahlia Tupaea who stared for a Flames side she has been forced to watch from the sidelines for the majority of the season in the Flames' 65-62 victory over Melbourne Boomers on Saturday.

With Opals coach Sandy Brondello watching from the stands, Tupaea top scored with 21 and racked up four steals, two assists and two rebounds.

"It was good to make a bit of a mark,'' said Tupaea, whose immediate goal is to make the Opals squad ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

"That was a good win for us, especially on their ground.''

With just one player in double figures in their 82-72 loss to Adelaide last Wednesday, four achieved the feat against the Boomers in a much-improved offensive display.

The Flames shocked the Boomers to prove they are no easy-beats.
The Flames shocked the Boomers to prove they are no easy-beats.

Separate from Tupaea, Shanae Greaves and captain Belinda Snell both scored 14 points and made four rebounds with an injured Britt Smart pulling in 10 rebounds.

Down by four with three minutes in the clock, the Flames held strong with Tupaea helping mastermind the win in her 100th WNBL match.

"Tahlia was fantastic, she was so tenacious,'' coach Cheryl Chambers said.

"The whole eight minutes (at the end) offensively everything went against her.

"We just stayed level headed and kept playing and playing. They really deserved to win this one.''

Despite the result, the Boomers remain in second place on the league ladder while the Flames are last with a 2-11 win/loss record.