Tough UC Capitals grind it out in front of 1400 fans
It was a homecoming for former Capitals star Lauren Jackson in front of 1,421 fans but when the UC Capitals and Southside Flyers took to the court for their Round 6 game, it was anything but friendly.
Jade Melbourne, Shaneice Swain, Emilee Whittle-Harmon, Alex Bunton and Nicole Munger took to the court up against Southside’s Lauren Jackson, Sara Blicavs, Bec Cole, Kayla Thornton and Maddy Rocci.
In standard LJ style, the GOAT shot a three in the opening seconds to begin proceedings at the National Convention Centre. This didn’t rattle the UC Caps as they held strong defensively to stop the size and physicality of Southside’s starting five. Pizzey bravely shut down LJ which she didn’t take well, and soon after did the same to Bec Cole. It took the Caps some time to fire offensively with Emilee Whittle-Harmon getting on the board first, three minutes in. Rae Burrell returned to the court in the 5th minute, after missing one game due to a foot injury, fighting hard for the ball. Southside was feeling the heat from the Caps, calling a timeout with just over a minute to go as the Caps looked the stronger team.
Caps 17, Southside 27
Whittle-Harmon led the Caps out again in quarter two, before Southside went on a bit of a run and took the margin out to 13. Head Coach Kristen Veal called a time out to stem the blow of the visiting side, telling her players to focus defensively and not let Southside run away with it. Southside were looking good from the three point line before BSmart and Munger returned serve. Bunts was the rebound queen with six rebounds heading into half time, the centre also holding off LJ on multiple attempts under the rim.
Caps 37, Southside 2
The Caps fans were getting right behind their home side, and the atmosphere was electric. It was a fast paced to start the third, with LJ getting blocked by Bunton, Melbourne and Swain. The Flyers were tight in defence but with Munger’s physicality and drive, she couldn’t be stopped. Caps then had the momentum, bringing it down to a six margin halfway through as Swain hit a three and nearly lifted the roof off the NCCC. The Flyers reacted though, going into the final term 12 points ahead.
Caps 57, Southside 69
With everything on the line, Melbourne had a lot of drive to the basket and kept the Caps in with a chance. Bunts and LJ started the fourth quarter on the bench but both were quick to be subbed back on as the battle of the bigs continued. Tension started to build on and off the court, turning into quite a physical final quarter. Maddy Rocci held the ball last and let the clock wind down, leaving the Caps disappointed in the loss but proud of one of their best performances to date.
Nicole Munger ended the night on 19 points and 5 rebounds, Jade Melbourne on 17 points, 5 rebounds.
The Caps go again on Wednesday, December 21 when they play Perth Lynx from 5.30pm at the National Convention Centre Canberra.