Game 3 preview: after a false start, we’re home

December 16, 2021 | UC Capitals news

Here we are, the home opener!

After a false start, the Caps will finally get their homecoming game a week later than anticipated.

The Caps will face off against the Adelaide Lightning in the 2018/19 Grand Final Series rematch.

The Lightning are coming off a thrilling game where they erased a 22-point third-quarter deficit. They brought the game back to 1-point with just a tick under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter but couldn’t finish off the game as Townville pulled away late.

Come Sunday, Adelaide will be on a mission to prove they can close out games as they go up against the Capitals who are at a disadvantage having lost a week of training and playing while in isolation.

However, during the Caps first session back on the court Wednesday morning, Coach Paul Goriss said he noticed the team’s intensity hadn’t faltered.

“I saw energy and relief to be back on the court and doing what they love. I think the excitement is there to be back on the court, and then we get the added benefit of playing in front of our home crowd.”

The Caps will be without captain Kelsey Griffin this weekend, who is still working out a timeline for her return with the team doctor. “It’s hard to miss any games, and that was the most devastating thing on impact; I knew it wasn’t going to be able to bounce back in 24 hours.”

However, Griffin is confident the team will succeed without her this weekend. “I have a lot of faith in this group… It helps now being back in training as a team together as this is a special group.”

With Griffin out this weekend Coach Goriss identified that winning individual matchups would be vital to winning this week. He recognised that the Adelaide starting five, including reigning MVP Steph Talbot and top WNBA prospect Alanna Smith, can all score at a high clip and play elite defence.

The key matchup in this game will be WNBL player of Round 1 Britt Sykes and Reigning WNBL MVP Steph Talbot. Talbot is a high-level scorer, rebounder, and defender. Sykes will use her length, speed and athleticism to limit Talbots touches on the defensive end and exploit the athletic mismatch on the offensive end. This matchup is shaping up to be one of the more entertaining individual matchups of the season.

Coach Goriss expects the Canberra crowd will have a huge impact this weekend. “Playing in front of that energy that the home crowd brings is important, and that’s what the group is excited for.”

He also highlighted the good memories he has of the last home game the team played almost two years ago. “I still have vivid memories of the AIS rocking for those finals games… Teams that come here don’t want to play here because of the noise, and that makes a huge difference.”

So, there you have it. It might be a week later than we thought, but it’s shaping up to be a massive night at the NCCC.

Click here for the Game Day Program.