Lauren goes large as Nicholson lights up Melbourne

THE eighth round of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season for 2023/24 kicked off on Wednesday night, with Lauren Nicholson leading the Sydney Flames to a big win over the Melbourne Boomers.

Although it may have loomed as a one-sided affair earlier in the season, the tables had turned in recent weeks. The Flames had produced some strong outings under coach Guy Molloy, utilising their star power to find some strong form. On the other hand, the Boomers suffered a shock loss at the hands of the previously winless Capitals in Round 7, which had shown the once unbeaten Boomers were more vulnerable than once thought. However, Melbourne’s form earlier in the fixture was still encouraging enough.

The Flames started the game strongly on both ends of the court, shutting down the Boomers to begin the match with a 5-0 run. Sydney was able to keep in front of Melbourne to close out the first quarter, before putting the foot down to take a 13-point lead at the main break. The Boomers remained in touch coming out of half-time but still trailed by 12 heading into the fourth. In that period, the Flames were relentless in slamming the door on any sort of comeback, storming home to a 28-point victory.

Nicholson delivered a leading performance on the offensive end, scoring the ball with ease as Sydney delivered one of its best showings from an output perspective.

Melbourne Boomers (58) def. by Sydney Flames (86)

Lauren Nicholson – 24 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal

Nicholson needs no introduction when it comes to offensive output, having established herself as one of the premier scorers of the WNBL, and delivered yet another standout performance in the win over Melbourne.

She was far and away the leading scorer of the match with 24 points, doing most of her damage from downtown. Despite some improved coverage as the game went on, there was seemingly nothing the Boomers could do to stop Nicholson from hitting triples.

From behind the arc, the 30-year-old shot a remarkable 75 per cent, making six shots on eight attempts in the most lethal long-range shooting display of the season to date. She worked extremely hard to create space around the perimeter, and even took some difficult shots, be it in terms of contesting or the depth, but they still went in.

She finished the match with more three-pointers than the entire Boomers team combined, showcasing how much of an impact she had, and further emphasising just how damaging she can be if her shots are falling consistently.

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