The UC Capitals are starting to find their groove.
The defending Chemist Warehouse WNBL champions have two wins to their name, after an opening-round defeat to Adelaide Lightning, and now a full complement of players with Kelsey Griffin, Tahlia Tupaea and Britt Smart all returning from injury at the start of Round 2.
The Caps take on the red-hot Deakin Melbourne Boomers (3-0) in Mackay on Wednesday night and coach Paul Goriss says things are starting to come together for his side.
“It’s good to have everyone back. In essence we’re drip feeding them back in but it’s a sigh of relief having everyone back in and now we can kind of get moving into the season,’’ he said.
“While all of them aren’t fully fit it’s just about being mindful of not rushing them back in, doing the right thing and managing their minutes over the next few games.”
The two-time championship coach expects the front-court battle to define the result.
“Melbourne’s got two Opals in Cayla (George) and Ezi (Magbegor) but they’ve also got two New Zealand Tall Ferns in Penina Davidson and Kalani Purcell so they’ve got four international level bigs,’’ he said.
“With our front court of Keely Froling, Kelsey Griffin, Marianna Tolo and Mikaela Ruef I think that’s where it’s going to be won because the match-ups are eight really tough players.
“Cayla and Ezi can score, Cayla’s having a great season so far and Ezi’s coming back from a WNBA championship, so we’ve got to be great defensively on them.”
Goriss described the efforts of 18-year-old rookie Jade Melbourne, who started and top scored for the Caps in just her third WNBL game, as ‘absolutely wonderful’.
“Jade was thrust into a starting role and in her first game was guarding an Opal in Steph Talbot which was a bit daunting but she’s been fantastic and getting better game to game,’’ he said.
“I’m just really excited to watch her grow.”
The Boomers are unbeaten after three games and have been paced by co-captain and Chemist Warehouse Australian Opal George who is dominating at both ends of the floor.
Magbegor believes her side has been able to set the tone for their campaign.
“We’re pretty happy with how we’ve started, with a short season it’s important to start well and we’ve had three tough wins,’’ she said.
“Our win over Perth wasn’t pretty but it was a win and we’ll hope to continue that for the next few games as well.”
The Boomers and Caps match-up well on paper and Magbegor is expecting a tough tussle.
“Whenever we come up against the Caps it’s always physical. I’m looking forward to it and playing well against a team we match up well against.”
Megan Hustwaite is a freelance contributor to WNBL.com.au
Deakin Melbourne Boomers vs UC Capitals
Wednesday November 18 2020
5pm AEST / 6pm AEDT
LIVE on Kayo
You can catch every Boomers game this season live on Kayo with a Hub Membership! Sign up here.