The UC Capitals snatched a Game 1 win from our Southside Flyers last night at Dandenong Stadium, using a 19-11 fourth quarter to take the opening game of the WNBL Grand Final series.
The Flyers had an oppourtunity to tie things up as they got the ball back with 14 seconds left on the game clock, down two after a Kia Nurse miss. But some solid Capitals defense on a Leilani Mitchell drive foiled that last second chance and allowed Canberra to grab a potential closeout oppourtunity on Wednesday night.
That Wednesday night game will be played on Canberra’s homecourt at the AIS Arena in what will be a do-or-die clash for our Southsiders, tipping off at 7:30PM.
This is all despite a terrific showing by our Southside Flyers who led throughout the game, shot just under 50% from the field and held the league’s MVP, Kia Nurse, to just 7-21 shooting. If the ball bounced a little differently in the 4th quarter the Flyers could easily have taken this one, something Coach Chambers will no doubt be telling players heading into Wednesday.
That positivity has been a hallmark of the Flyers group all season long and that was again evident at the post-game press conference, with Coach Chambers confident that the team will bounce back in Game 2.
“The game was there (to be won), I think we were up with five minutes to go but we just lost our composure”, said Chambers. “I guess now it’s about how we respond, I know we have a really good group and they’ll all pick themselves up and we’ll go again on Wednesday.
“We’ll look at (the game) and make some tweaks, I don’t think we need to throw the baby out with the bath water. We just need to make some adjustments that will allow us to execute down the stretch.”
The Capital’s composure in key moments is hardly surprising considering that they are the defending champs and now have the 2018-19 MVP, Kelsey Griffin, playing at full capacity. Griffin’s WNBL20 campaign has been slightly off by her standards due to injury but she was in full flight on Sunday, hurting the Flyers inside the paint with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
If our Southsiders are to take Game 2 in Canberra they’ll need to make adjustments on Griffin and the rest of Canberra’s physical, tough players, something Flyers star Bec Cole acknowledged post-game.
“Canberra are a physical team and the reigning champs so they know how to get it done”, said Cole. “But we have vets on this team and we’ve had all season to prepare (for the matchup).
“That game was down to the wire, I remember looking up on the scoreboard with five minutes left up 6 and saying if we play defense we’ll win this. We just have to go back to the drawing board and know we can do this, we’ve won against them on their home floor so we’ll just have to do that again on Wednesday.”
Not the result we wanted but it’s far from over yet Flyers Family, time to rally behind our Southsiders and get this series back to a Game 3 here at Dandenong Stadium!
Game 2 of the WNBL Grand Final series will tip off at 7:30PM at Canberra’s AIS Arena, with all the action broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports Ch. 507 and Kayo Sports. To sign up for a free 14-day Kayo Sports trial click here.