UC Caps go 3-0 in six days
By John Robinson IV
After an undermanned Capitals team defeated the Southside Flyers on the road, they looked to carry this newfound momentum against the Perth Lynx.
Balance was nearly restored to the team as star forward Kelsey Griffin made her long-awaited return to the NCCC, giving the Capitals an added boost.
The Capitals got off to a hot start, but Perth did not let the score get out of hand. At the six-minute mark, Griffin checked into her first game in five weeks. Griffin’s presence was immediately felt as she quickly scored back-to-back buckets.
The insertion of Griffin immediately changed the flow of the game as two minutes after she was subbed in, the Capitals went on a 7-0 run. Griffin showed no signs of rust and the Capitals began to take over the first quarter as most players found themselves on the scoreboard.
The quarter concluded with the Capitals taking a commanding 27-17 lead, and the resurgence of the forward duo of Tolo and Griffin had not seemed to miss a beat.
The second started with the younger players getting minutes which is promising as the Capitals add to their depth heading into finals.
The Perth Lynx had cut in their deficit and got the Capitals lead down to two. Perth did not make things easy for the Capitals, as they began to trade baskets with each other.
After a quiet first by Kia Nurse, she made noise scoring five points in consecutive possessions. However, Perth made adjustments and fought their way to tie the game at 32 with six minutes to go. Marena Whittle would continue to give life to Perth as she knocked down threes and found her way to the foul line.
Nurse’s shooting and Tolo’s inside game kept the Capitals in the lead most of the second. Tolo found herself having another dominant game as she had 14 points before the quarter would conclude.
The inside and outside game of the Capitals started working as they tried to pull away from Perth. Maddison Rocci came back on the floor after taking a nasty fall in the first quarter and she would be impressive as well. Rocci has completely expanded her offensive game and it was shown as she scored 9 points in the first half.
As the quarter began winding down, Alex Delaney mad a corner three showing off her confidence as her role on the team has increased. A Perth turnover would lead to a buzzer-beating layup by the Capitals, and they retained their lead, 52-46.
The third quarter started with a Delaney three and the Capitals continued to stretch their lead over Perth.
The UC Caps used their height over the undersized Lynx to control the paint and score. Tolo’s dominance in the paint was an issue for Perth because not only was she a force in the paint, she could step out and shoot the ball efficiently from the perimeter.
Epoupa, known as the pickpocket, stole balls and deflected passes which led to easy layups.
This quarter was completely dominated by the Capitals as the inside and outside game clicked on all cylinders. The shooting of Nurse, feisty defense of Olivia Epoupa, and the Tolo-Griffin tandem showed to be too much for the Lynx in the third. The quarter ended with the Capitals extending their lead and controlling the game 77-60.
The final quarter was a continuation of the previous as the Capitals’ overwhelmed the Lynx.
Perth fought hard to cut into their deficit thanks to some streaky shooting, but it was not enough.
The Capitals won with a score of 89-75 and pushed their win streak to three games within just six days.
The revitalised Capitals look like a force to be reckoned with and will only be better when Keely Froling recovers from injury.
Tolo led all scorers with 22, followed up by 20 points from Nurse. Rocci was two points shy of her career-high again with 17. Griffin played just over 21 minutes and was one basket and one rebound away from a double-double.
Round 15 is not over for the UC Caps as they prepare for their fourth game in 10 days when the Sydney Uni Flames come to town on Sunday.