Capitals deal out punishment

December 24, 2018 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire’s title defence is hanging by a thread after a 55-81 loss to the UC Capitals.

With just four rounds of the Chemist Warehouse WNBL season remaining, the reigning champions are in dire need of capturing their best form ahead of a re-match with the Caps on Friday.

Having dropped Friday’s road game to Bendigo, the Fire were desperate to atone and were engaged in a shootout during the opening term.

Played at a frantic pace, Tess Madgen (11 points, 12 rebounds and three assists) and Ally Malott (12 points, three rebounds and two assists) were both aggressive in the early going but the Caps appeared to have the answers.

Trailing 25-30 at the first change, the Caps went on a run to start the second and opened up a double-digit advantage.

Zitina Aokuso (seven points and nine rebounds) was hustling hard on the boards but the Caps rode a 20-1 advantage in second-chance points to lead 49-35 at half-time.

“Canberra are a really tough team, but the disappointing thing for us is just the rebound count is the last two games,” fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“You’re not going to win too many games giving up as many rebounds and second-chance points that we did.

“We know that Suzy (Batkovic) does a massive job for us on the boards, but we’ve got to find a way to end up with more rebounds.”

An 8-0 run to the Caps to start the second half all but blew open the game before the Fire rallied thanks to Darcee Garbin.

The dual championship winner lifted her offensive output to finish with 10 points and off the back of her go forward, the Fire were able to cut the margin to 13 near three-quarter-time.

A 10-0 run to the Caps to start the final quarter ensured there would be no Christmas miracle as the visitors secured a 26-point win.

The Fire and the Caps will clash again on Friday in Canberra before one final game in Sydney for 2018 on Sunday.

Click here to see full box scores between the Fire and the Caps.