NOVOCASTRIANS Katie Ebzery and Suzy Batkovic went point for point as Sydney Uni Flames retained a share of the Women’s National Basketball League lead over the weekend.
Townsville, who won their first two matches, lost 66-63 at home to Sydney on Friday and 86-69 at Dandenong the following day.
Batkovic, the Townsville skipper, and Ebzery, her Flames counterpart, scored 22 points against each other.
Townsville scored just five points in the opening quarter against Sydney and 13 in the same period against Dandenong, shooting 38 per cent from the field in both games.
"Once again we made a slow start to the game and if we can't get the job done we will have no other choice but to make changes," Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.
Sydney have won three straight since their opening loss to Adelaide to join the Lightning and Melbourne Boomers on top of the table.
"At the moment we're finding a way to win, which is pleasing," Flames coach Cheryl Chambers said.
Adelaide coach Chris Lucas has tasted victory in his first game back from a cancer scare with a 79-75 overtime home win over Bendigo.
Star centre Liz Cambage produced a massive 23-point, 22-rebound game in Melbourne's 79-77 home win over Perth.
Lucas was back at the helm after undergoing surgery in September following a diagnosis of kidney cancer.
"It was a big shock for myself and my family, but the support I had around me from family, the club and the basketball fraternity was unbelievable and a bit overwhelming to be honest," Lucas said.
Colleen Planeta top-scored with 21 points in what Lucas described as a grinding win.
"The thing we can take out of it is that we didn't play well, but we got the result," Lucas said.
Perth scored a 106-79 home win over Bendigo.