Preview: the UC Caps look to pull off first win against the ladder leaders without Bunton or Wilson
- When: Saturday, 12 March at 7:30pm (10:30pm AEDT)
- Where: Bendat Basketball Centre
- How to watch: Kayo
The UC Caps will take on the Perth Lynx for the third and final time on Saturday night to prove they can defeat the ladder leaders before finals.
The UC Capitals struggled in the previous two games against the Lynx, losing by 19 points in Round 11 and then by 29 the following week.
“Perth is one of those teams that if you make a mistake, they’re going to capitalise on it on the other end,” said Jade Melbourne.
The Lynx have since enjoyed a smooth run, but experienced a recent upset loss to the Sydney Flames last week, 63-66.
With three games in five days for Round 14, Perth have already made it known that they’ve learnt their lesson with back-to-back wins against top-four Adelaide Lightning.
“A loss like that is something you never want but sometimes you need. We know we’re going to get a full-strength Perth team on Saturday night, but we’re ready to go. We need to make sure we lock in for 40 minutes and execute our offensive scout and take pride in our individual match ups,” said Melbourne.
The UC Capitals are coming off their biggest win of the season, having dominated the Southside Flyers 106-64 last week.
The team has moved from fourth to second on the ladder, but the margins separating the top four remain narrow. Just one more win or loss could make all the difference between having home court advantage for finals or not.
To add to the challenge, the UC Capitals will have to try and take down the Lynx without the help of key players Alex Bunton and Kelly Wilson.
The pair did not travel to WA the team for this weekend’s game due to the COVID quarantine rules and potential of having to go into quarantine in the chance they become close contacts.
The mothers decided it was not something they could put their young families through, which the club fully supported.
The UC Capitals will need to show their depth once again and Head Coach Paul Goriss will need to get creative with his rotations. Expect Tahlia Tupaea to play a greater role and Alicia Froling to help fill the void of missing bigs Bunton and Mikaela Ruef, who suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago.
Although Perth has many threats on the floor, the key will be shutting down offensive powerhouse Marina Mabrey who is leading the league averaging 21.5 points per game.
The team will have an added layer of motivation since learning that Goriss will be departing the club for a new WNBA opportunity once this season ends earlier this week.
“He cares about us so much and it’s given us that extra fire in our bellies to finish his time here on a positive note. We’re all aiming for a championship, that was the goal from the start of the season and hopefully we can send him off with another one,” said Melbourne.