Caps fall short to Adelaide in front of record home crowd
The UC Capitals drew their largest home crowd so far this season, with 1,502 fans packing out the stands of their Indigenous Round matchup against the Adelaide Lightning. The Caps were boosted by the return of Yupangathi and Gangalidda/Gooreng Gooreng woman Shaneice Swain, and team leader Alex Bunton who have missed the last few games through injury.
Lining up first for the Caps was Swain, Jade Melbourne, Bec Pizzey, Rae Burrell and Nicole Munger. While for Adelaide it was Steph Talbot who lead out Abby Cubillo, Jacinta Monroe, Lauren Mansfield and Marena Whittle onto the court.
Nicole Munger kicked off the scoring in style with a three-pointer from the top of the arc. It was Whittle who hit back for the visitors with a layup from down low. Ninety-seconds into the quarter and the Caps made their first substitution, with Bunton making her return to the court. It then became the battle of the two tall towers as she went up against Monroe in the paint. Halfway through and the teams couldn’t be split, until the hard work of Munger helped the Caps pull ahead by eight and forced Adelaide’s head coach, Nat Hurst, into calling a timeout. Monroe and Cubillo came out firing to try reduce the margin, but the fancy footwork of Melbourne kept the home side in the lead.
Caps 26 – Adelaide 13
Back on court for the second quarter and Talbot lead with experience as Adelaide came out firing from the break to go on a nine-point scoring streak. The Caps were unable to get on the scoreboard until two minutes in thanks to a three-pointer from Munger. Sam Simons hit back for the visitors with a three-pointer of her own, which made Caps head coach, Kristen Veal, call a timeout. Adelaide then took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes when Mansfield converted two bonus shots after an unsportsmanlike foul to Britt Smart. The game continued basket-for-basket as both teams continue to play physical. Whittle and Talbot worked hard at both ends for the visitors, while it was Bunton who stayed strong down low for the Caps. Both teams ended the quarter with bonus fouls, but it was Adelaide who walked away with the slight edge lead on the scoreboard.
Munger lead the stats for the Caps with 14 points and 9 rebounds to her name, while Whittle lead for Adelaide with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Caps 37 – Adelaide 41
Adelaide continued their good form in the second half, with Talbot stealing possession early and Whittle eventually converting a jump shot. Smart kicked off the Caps scoring with a three-pointer from the corner of the court. Adelaide took a blow when four minutes Talbot had to leave the court after landing badly on her knee on a fast break. Mansfield took the visitors lead out to seven, their biggest of the game, after she nailed a three-pointer. However, the Caps were far from out, with Melbourne and Burrell both dropping three-pointers of their own. With four minutes remaining, the physicality of the game pushed the Caps into the bonus after recording five team fouls. Veal called a timeout for the home side as they attempted to bring back their 10-point deficit.
Caps 49 – Adelaide 60
The Caps came back ready for a big final effort and started off strong as Melbourne found Pizzey under the basket for two-points. However, Whittle wasn’t letting the home team get away with it and contributed several baskets of her own. Melbourne was locked in and focused on getting her team ahead, taking it upon herself to drive to the basket and score. The height of Monroe was almost unstoppable down the other end, as her points kept her team in the lead. With three minutes to go the Caps defence went up another level as they swarmed Adelaide on every possession. Simons snuck in some late points to seal the game for the visitors.
Melbourne became one of the youngest WNBL players to finished on a triple-double with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists! Munger followed with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist. For Adelaide, Whittle recorded 27 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
Caps 72 – Adelaide 78