The University of Canberra Capitals used their great defence to choke the Adelaide Lightning to a shocking 13 point loss at home.
Under the tutelage of Paul Goriss, the Capitals have used a rock solid defence as their signature style of play, with attack starting from good defence. This was on full display on Sunday afternoon when they stifled Adelaide’s prolific offence.
Brittney Sykes was the key to this tactic, finishing at the top of the WNBA in steals for the 2021 season, and making the All Star WNBA defensive team.
Her match-up today was mouth-watering, helping to quell the impact of the Lightning’s captain Steph Talbot, who has been averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds a game. She finished with 13 points, seven assists, four steals and three defensive rebounds.
With the defence up to snuff, the offence lifted accordingly, Mikaela Ruef picking up her the second double-double in three days. She had 10 rebounds and 20 points.
She was not alone on the scoring end, with Brittany Smart chipping in with five three-pointers made for 17 points.
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Both sides were coming in off a win, the Capitals fresh off a massive 32 point destruction of the Sydney Uni Flames. The Lightning meanwhile won by eight points in overtime over the Townsville Fire, in a game where they lost injured import Kiana Williams, replaced in the starting five by Marena Whittle.
The significant worry for the Lightning before the opening buzzer was the 17 turnovers a game that they average, which the Capitals looked to exploit. As expected, Adelaide made 16 turnovers, Canberra capitalising with 17 points from them.
That defensive clamp came down hard in the second half, restricting the Lightning’s free-flowing and high-scoring game to just 27 points in the second half. Both Alanna Smith and Talbot were both four points below their average scoring output
It was sweet revenge for Canberra, after being embarrassed by 26 points in Round 3 in the same fixture. The Lightning have now dropped to second spot on the ladder, with Perth taking top position.
The UC Caps will play again on Saturday against the Southside Flyers for the first time this season in Canberra. The Lightning will look to get back top spot by beating the Perth Lynx in Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon.
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