A last quarter blitz from the University of Canberra Capitals has seen them run out 14 point winners over the Bendigo Spirit in front of an incredibly vocal Southern Cross Stadium crowd.
It was a close contest throughout the first three quarters of the match, but a huge effort from the UC Caps in the final period saw them beat the Spirit for the first time this season 77 to 63.
Marianna Tolo backed up her impressive performance last week with another dominant display, tallying 28 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and two steals.
Lauren Mansfield also played one of her best games of the season, scoring 19 points and picking up five rebounds and six assists.
The UC Capitals started the game slowly, turning the ball over on several occasions and struggled to score in open play, with a majority of their points coming from the free throw line.
However, things began to turn around for the home side as the game progressed. Errors became far less frequent and the team’s defence was noticeably stronger and more alert.
Things began to step up a notch in the second half for the UC Caps.
Led by Tolo and Mansfield, the team became more settled and were able to string together some impressive displays of basketball.
At three quarter time, the scores were tied at 56 apiece.
The game looked set to go down to the wire. With six minutes left in the match scores were level, but a staggering 17 point to one scoring run from the UC Caps guaranteed the side their third win in a row.
An undeniable factor behind the UC Capitals performance was the support thrown their way by the home crowd.
Given cowbells before the start of the game, the fans made themselves heard and created an amazing atmosphere, something which didn’t go unnoticed by the team.
“You can hear the roar of the crowd at times just about lift the roof off when we made some runs and scored some key baskets, they really do help us,” said head coach Paul Goriss.
Keely Froling also paid credit to the vocality of the supporters.
“It’s massive all the fan support. You really notice it especially down the stretch when it’s close, it’s awesome to have that support and the cowbells were definitely loud,” she joked.
The UC Capitals will now turn their attention to Australia Day when they take on Sydney Uni in another crucial game at Southern Cross Stadium.
By Aaron Palazzo
UC Capitals 77: Tolo (28 pts, 9 rebs, 5 blks, 2 stls), Mansfield (19 pts, 5 rebs, 6 as), Ruef (7 points, 8 rebs, 2 as)
Bendigo Spirit 63: Griffin (20 pts, 4 rebs, 3 as), Raincock-Ekunwe (13 pts, 3 rebs), Payne (10 pts, 8 rebs)
Photo credit: 5 Foot Photography