UC Capitals complete comeback against Perth
The University of Canberra Capitals have had arguably their best win of the season, defeating last year’s grand finalists Perth Lynx 87 to 82 at Southern Cross Stadium.
It was a tale of two halves as the Lynx showed signs towards the end of the second quarter that they were going to pull away with the match, before the UC Capitals stepped up a gear and made it an enthralling contest.
The opening quarter was an even fight between both sides. The UC Capitals continued their rebounding dominance over their opposition as has been the case all season, but found themselves trailing at the first break 17 to 20.
Perth’s lead began to build in the second quarter. The UC Capitals looked second best on the court and each time it seemed as if they were getting control of the game, the Lynx managed to extinguish their flow. At half-time the score was 46 to 36 in favour of Perth. The Lynx’s Sami Whitcomb showed no signs of slowing down from her recent hot form, by the main break she had 21 points to her name. Not to be outdone, Marianna Tolo was also racking up the points for the UC Capitals, with 14
After half-time the UC Capitals looked rejuvenated and their sheer desperation for the ball sparked the home side on a 17 to 2 scoring run. Mikaela Ruef’s rebounding was exceptional, Carly Wilson and Abby Wehrung both scored critical three-pointers while Jazmon Gwathmey’s all-round performance and hustle vastly improved. By three-quarter time the UC Capitals were up by two points, 63 to 61.
UC Capitals coach, Paul Goriss, applauded his team’s ability to come out firing after the half-time break.
“To the girls credit they really came out with some toughness and some resilience, and it happened at the defensive end for us in holding a group that can score a lot of points to 15 [points] in the third [quarter],” he said.
Tolo also praised her teammates’ ability to get themselves back in the game.
“We knew we had work to do and we knew we weren’t out of it as well and we came out of that half-time break ready to go and it was awesome to cut back their lead so quickly and get right back in the game,” she said.
The game tightened up in the final quarter and neither side was able to put the other team to bed. Gwathmey again picked her game up and was vital to the UC Capitals while Wehrung continued to sink three-pointers when given the opportunity. With 15 seconds left on the clock and the UC Capitals up by a single point, Ruef was sent to the free throw line and coolly sunk both shots to put the pressure on Perth to answer with a shot from beyond the arc. They failed to do so and the home side were victorious.
The UC Capitals ability to spread the scoring load was pivotal to their success, with five members of the team managing to score at least 12 points.
Tolo was the UC Capitals best player with 25 points, 81% field goal accuracy, eight rebounds and seven assists. An outstanding day out for the Olympian.
It was a complete performance for many of the UC Capitals players. Gwathmey (15 points, seven rebounds) played her best game for the team since joining, while Ruef (12 points, 11 rebounds) picked up her third double-double of the season.
Lauren Mansfield (14 points, six assists) was again a key player for the UC Caps and the only one to play the entire game.
Kate Gaze’s absence through injury also led to both Janelle Adams and Callie Bourne getting minutes off the bench.
892 fans helped cheer on the UC Capitals to victory, the team’s biggest home crowd so far this season.
The UC Capitals will meet the Melbourne Boomers in their next game which will be at Southern Cross Stadium at 7pm on Friday December 2.
UC Capitals 87: Tolo (25 points), Gwathmey (15 points), Mansfield (14 points)
Perth Lynx 82: Whitcomb (36 points), Mijovic (17 points), Edmonson (13 points)