Mixed results for Novocastrians Katie Ebzery and Suzy Batkovic in WNBL.

THE return of Rio Olympian Katie Ebzery was not enough for Sydney Uni Flames to avoid an upset loss to Adelaide Lightning in their Women’s National Basketball League season-opener on Friday night. 

The Lightning, last season’s wooden spooners, beat the defending champions 91-80, despite 20 points and seven rebounds from skipper Ebzery. The Newcastle guard was playing her first game after an off-season stint in Russia.

RETURN: Katie Ebzery

RETURN: Katie Ebzery

On Saturday, Ebzery’s fellow Novocastrian Suzy Batkovic (Townsville) clashed head-on with her long-time Opals teammate Liz Cambage (Melbourne Boomers) in Townsville.

But with five-time WNBL most valuable player Batkovic in early foul trouble, Kalya George, back after a stint with Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, sparked the 63-54 win for the Fire with 17 points and 21 rebounds.

"Obviously Liz and I have played together and against each other for a long time now," Batkovic said.

"I think it's really great for the league. It makes the league stronger."

Cambage, who helped Melbourne to a 76-61 win over the Dandenong Rangers on Thursday night, said she needed to be patient.

"I was getting a little bit angry with myself, trying to find my touch again but it will come," Cambage said after Saturday's defeat to Townsville.

"I just need to chill out a little bit, it will come within the next month."

The University of Canberra Capitals made a flying start to the season with a 93-80 win over the Bendigo Spirit on their new home court at the National Convention Centre.