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Jasper Bruce

Coach Heal remains absent in WNBL

The Sydney Flames have remained tight-lipped on Shane and Shyla Heal's unexplained absence from the WNBL after the father-daughter pair missed a second consecutive game this week.

One of the most recognisable names in Australian basketball, Shane Heal was listed as "unavailable" to coach against the Southside Flyers on Wednesday, with guard and daughter Shyla also missing the 96-91 loss citing "personal reasons".

The Flames would not elaborate on the nature of the pair's absence when it extended into Saturday's game against Perth Lynx, which ended in an 87-68 defeat.

Kiera Rowe replaced Shyla Heal in the starting five for both matches.

On both occasions, the Flames issued a brief statement indicating assistant Shelley Gorman would step up as interim coach in Heal's absence.

The Kings would not confirm to AAP whether the coach would return for their next game on January 29.

Heal is in his second season coaching the Flames, who sit in seventh place on the ladder with four wins from their 15 games.

A WNBL spokesperson told AAP the Flames had not been required to elaborate on the nature of Heal's absence to the league.

With the Heals absent, marquee Flyers recruit Lauren Jackson reached a game-high 30 points against the Flames, the first time she has hit that mark since making her WNBL comeback.

The game was also Jackson's first since revealing she had been playing on a broken foot since round five but the injury did little to quell her influence on a tight game at Sydney's Quaycentre.

She added five rebounds as the Flyers rallied with a 20-11 final quarter that won them the contest.

Jackson played limited minutes in the Flyers' follow-up game, a 97-81 defeat of the University of Canberra Capitals, leaving the court in the second quarter with 10 points to her name from five-for-five shooting from the field.

On Friday, Adelaide Lightning captain and World Cup bronze medallist Steph Talbot made her return from a leg injury but shot at only 27 per cent from the field and could not prevent her side from falling 92-63 to the dominant Townsville Fire.

The Lightning have now lost eight of their last nine and sit sixth on the ladder, three wins ahead of the last-placed Capitals.

The Lightning's two upcoming clashes with the Caps, and one with the Flames, will go a long way to deciding which side finishes the season on the bottom.

In the final match of the round, the Bendigo Spirit handed the ladder-leading Melbourne Boomers just their third loss of the season 81-76.

Opals representative Anneli Maley led the way for the Spirit, pulling down 12 rebounds to go with 17 points.

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