Round 1 Review: UC Capitals fight back but finish with a 3 point loss
The UC Capitals tipped off the start of their season, and showed off an abundance of new faces, in front of a near sell-out crowd at the National Conventional Centre Canberra. Running out in the starting five for the first time this season was Jade Melbourne, Alex Sharp, Alex Fowler, Nicole Munger, and Monica Okoye. Their opponents Jocelyn Willoughby, Isabel Borlase, Brianna Turner, Lauren Mansfield, Isabelle Bourne
Adelaide won first possession which ended in Borlase taking the first points of the night, but it wasn’t long before the Caps hit back with Okoye sinking a three-pointer for her first points in the WNBL. The defensive pressure was strong as both teams came out firing, Adelaide found the ring early to take a 10-point lead five minutes in. However, it was the home team that had the energy as Fowler and Jayda Clark scored their first points in the league, and Gemma Potter returned to the court for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in last year’s home season opener. For the visitors, it was Borlase who continued to lead the scoring as she attacked the basket and racked up 16 points. It was a tussle in the final minutes, but Adelaide went into the break up by 11 points after a three-pointer from Borlase.
Caps 20 – Adelaide 31
Melbourne came out firing for the Caps in Q2 and quickly made it to the foul line for some free shots. Adelaide begun to share the scoring between them, with Bourne, Turner, and Mole all contributing points. Our co-captains felt right at home as they linked up on court, as a sneaky tip from Sharp resulted in a Melbourne three-pointer that had the fans cheering. The fouls began to roll as both teams stepped up their intensity and the Caps were shooting the bonus as the five-minute mark rolled over. Alex Bunton used her height to her advantage and worked hard to contribute points from in the key, and Potter brought the crowd to life by hitting a three-pointer from right in the corner. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep Adelaide from going on a scoring run to hold their lead into the main break by 15 points.
Half time top scorers for the Caps were Melbourne with 11 points, 3 assists, and Potter with 9 points, 1 rebound. Borlase lead for Adelaide with 18 points, and 3 rebounds, followed by Willoughby with 15 points, 2 rebounds.
Caps 43 – Adelaide 58
Ready to start the second half, the Caps came out with impact as Munger and Sharp hit back-to-back three-pointers before Fowler found two buckets of her own to extend their streak to 10 unanswered points. Adelaide was kept scoreless for over five minutes before Truner scored one off the glass. The home side continued to use their speed to run the floor, and a fast break from Potter brought the Caps back within five points. Adelaide found their groove again as they finished off the quarter, with Bourne and Borlase leading the visitors.
Caps 59 – Adelaide 70
With one term left to play the Caps went in a renewed focus and lead by Sharp who opened up the scoring with a strong layup. Adelaide hit back with a three-pointer from Liz Tonks, before Potter subbed back on to hit a three of her own keeping the margin tight. The defensive efforts of both teams picked up as the pressure built, and in only her debut game, Fowler was key for the Caps as she added to both rebounds and points to the stat sheet. With just 65 seconds left, the scores drew level as Sharp knocked down consecutive baskets for the Caps. Bourne replied for Adelaide with a successful three-point shot and forced Caps coach, Kristen Veal, into calling a timeout. With six seconds left the Caps were unable to connect with the basket, leaving Adelaide to run away with their first win of the season.
Top scorers for the Caps were Sharp with 21 points, and 19 rebounds, and Alex Fowler with 19 points, 6 rebounds. Leading for Adelaide was Isabel Borlase with 20 points, 5 rebounds and Isabelle Bourne with 20 points, 2 rebounds.
Caps 79 – Adelaide 82