The Melbourne Boomers made a strong start to the new WNBL season by outclassing the Sydney Uni Flames 85-70 at Townsville Stadium.
Former captain Tess Madgen scored 23 points on her return appearance for the club on Thursday night as the Boomers aim to finish in the top four for the fourth consecutive season.
Back in Melbourne after two seasons with the Townsville Fire, Madgen made an immediate impact as she contributed 15 first-half points to help the Boomers establish a 43-31 lead that proved to be unassailable for the Flames.
"I love Melbourne, I love the Boomers and we've got a great team, a lot of really good players and a great coaching staff," Madgen said.
"It's been a long pre-season, so it's really good to get out there and play."
Madgen's fellow Opals Ezi Magbegor (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Cayla George dominated under the basket.
Their dominance allowed Madgen and guard Maddie Garrick (14 points) to make an impact from the perimeter.
"I'm playing with two of the best posts in the league and one of us (guards) is going to be open on every play.," Madgen said.
"(The Flames) were very focused on the bigs which opened it up for us but on any given day that can change."
The Boomers bigs will certainly face a tougher challenge on Saturday when they take on their cross-town rivals, the Southside Flyers, and imposing centre Liz Cambage.
The Flames made a promising start to the match, building a 13-7 lead with all five starters finding the basket but the Boomers asserted their authority with the final seven points of the quarter to grab a two-point advantage at quarter-time.
Accurate shooting from Lauren Mansfield and Carly Boag kept the Flames in touch early in the second period but the Boomers pulled away with Madgen's experience and attack on the basket proving a handful.
After outsourcing the Flames 26-16 in the second quarter, the Boomers showed no signs of letting up after the break with Madgen and Garrick connecting from long range to see the lead blow out to 23 points.
Sydney Uni kept fighting in the final quarter, Mansfield going on to finish with 17 points, and will look to bounce back against the Bendigo Spirit on Saturday.