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Sydney Flames stars Newcastle bound

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Sydney Flames WNBL basketballer Lara McSpadden will join team-mates on a whirlwind tour of Newcastle this week. 

The 6-foot-4 former Newcastle junior is returning home to share some skills with aspiring youngsters in a three-day promotional tour, from 1 to 3 December. 

McSpadden played for Lakers (Lake Macquarie club) and Newcastle (formerly the Hunters) before making her international debut at the 2015 FIBA Oceania Under-16 Championship for Women in New Zealand. 

She’ll join Australian Opals captain Tess Madgen, fellow Opals stars Cayla George and Lauren Nicholson, Newcastle Falcons NBL1 player Abi Curtin and rising star Isla Juffermans from Coffs Harbour Basketball Association. 

The visit is part of Newcastle Basketball’s Association Partnership with the Sydney Flames and Sydney Kings. 

Sydney Flames Rising star Isla Juffermans from Coffs Harbour Basketball Association. 

The Flames will bring their full WNBL squad and coaching staff to Newcastle, conducting school visits at Wallsend South Public School and Charlestown South Public School, as well as an open training session and free girls coaching clinic at Newcastle Basketball Stadium. 

“Newcastle Basketball has had an association partnership with the Sydney Flames and Sydney Kings for a couple of years now,” Newcastle Basketball general manager Matt Neason said.

“So, it’s really exciting to have the Flames coming to town for a promotional visit.

“Lara McSpadden is a Newcastle junior, Abi Curtin played NBL1 for the Falcons this year, and we’ve had Newcastle juniors such as Katie Ebzery, Chyra Evans and Cassidy McLean represent the Flames in recent years, so we’ve always felt a strong connection with the Flames.

“We’ve organised a couple of primary school appearances for them, an open training session at Newcastle Basketball Stadium where we’ll invite coaches from our junior clubs and representative teams to come in and watch, and the Flames will run a girls’ coaching clinic with us on the Sunday morning.” 

Sydney Flames – Newcastle Falcons NBL1 player Abi Curtin.

The tour includes coaching clinics on Friday 1 December at Wallsend South Public School, and Charlestown South Public School, an open training session at Newcastle Basketball Stadium (NB) Saturday 2 December from 3pm to 5pm, a one-hour girls’ coaching clinic at NB on Sunday 3 December from 8.30am followed by autograph signing/selfie session until 10am. 

The visit is set to attract record participation numbers, as female sport witnesses a surge in popularity. 

Women’s basketball is no exception to the rule, with trends revealing more females are purchasing tickets to professional Sydney basketball games than ever before. 

A Ticketek demographic report recently showed that although the gender of ticket holders to Sydney Kings’ home games is majority male, it’s now only by a slim margin. 

The distribution of ticket holders is 54.5% male and 45.5% female, a drastic change over the past year, when males made up 59% of NBL23 Kings’ ticket holders. 

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