Click here to submit your sports results for The Canberra Times
Canberra 74 Adelaide 76

WNBL: Canberra Capitals' finals chances end in heartbreak as Adelaide win thriller

Sport is a cruel mistress.

The Canberra Capitals fell one agonising basket short of keeping their WNBL season alive and sending club champion Carly Wilson out a winner in her final game at Tuggeranong Stadium on Thursday night.

It is incredible the Adelaide team which crushed Canberra's playoff dreams in a 76-74 thriller have won just three of 23 games this season.

The Capitals came out nervous in the must-win fixture but the victory wasn't gifted — Adelaide were simply better in almost every facet of the game on the night and never trailed.

The home crowd were ear-piercing in a tense final quarter as the Capitals came storming back into the contest and levelled the scores, but the Lightning kept their cool and finished with gusto.

With five seconds left in the game Canberra were down by two points and coach Paul Goriss called a time out to draw up a match-winning play.


Star centre Marianna Tolo received the ball and drove for the basket but the Lightning defence stood tall to ensure the Capitals co-captain couldn't get a clean shot away as time expired on the play and Canberra's season.

The shooting percentage told the story as Adelaide hit 48 per cent from the field and 45 per cent from beyond the arc, while Canberra managed just 42 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

Adelaide weren't playing like a team whose season was effectively over by Christmas. They were hungry on the rebound and defended with vigour, while every second Capitals shot seemed to rim out.

Tolo went on a mission in the final quarter and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Lauren Mansfield and Kate Gaze hit some clutch three-pointers, but ultimately it wasn't enough.

Coach Paul Goriss cast a lone figure during Wilson's post-match speech, but the dejected Capitals mentor acknowledged his team was beaten by the better side on the night.

"Adelaide did a fantastic job, full credit to them, they've pushed every team this season and it's a great way for them to finish their season, not so great for us," he said.

"We came into the game really tight. I don't think in any way we were disrespecting Adelaide, we just came in really tight knowing what was on the line.

"I don't think we played to our potential or how we played the whole season and it's just disappointing that was the game that cruelled our playoff chances."

Goriss said the final play was to get the ball to Tolo and level the scores.

"We had to get a shot away, we couldn't afford to just inbound, we had to get a shot where hopefully they fouled us so we could at least get the to the line and try and even the game," he said.

"There were multiple options with Gaze for a three or Tolo. It is what it is, they did a great defensive job."

ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 76 (Colleen Planeta 29, Alex Ciabattoni 20, Laura Hodges 18) bt CANBERRA CAPITALS 74 (Jazmon Gwathmey 16, Marianna Tolo 15, Kate Gaze 15).