Academy targets finals with big weapons
Gunners captain Jono Miller with Kristen Langhorn, Abbie Davis and Brianna Dalgleish from the Canberra Capitals Academy. Photo: Graham Tidy
They are bigger on paper and the Canberra Capitals Academy is hopeful their greater post weaponry will help them realise their bigger expectations this season.
Having missed the playoffs in its SEABL campaign last year, the Academy has been bolstered by Capitals WNBL ''bigs'' Alex Bunton and Samantha Norwood.
Throw in WNBL point guards Nicole Hunt and Tessa Lavey and the Academy is optimistic a maiden finals berth is within reach.
''Definitely, that's the goal,'' guard Lauren Jansen said.
''When you see those [WNBL] girls work together sometimes [at training] you think 'that was amazing, I'll just stay here and watch' … It's always a bit of a step down, so hopefully those girls can dominate and take that into the WNBL next year.''
Canberra sorely missed Bunton when she was sidelined with a knee injury last year.
The 19-year-old is fresh from her rookie WNBL season with the Capitals and Jansen is confident the 195-centimetre centre and Norwood can cause plenty of headaches.
''We missed her last year when she was injured,'' Jansen said. ''This year, we're definitely hoping to get it inside to her a bit and open things up for the perimeter girls.
''Last year, we were seriously lacking in bigs, especially toward the end of the season when we had heaps of injuries.
''At one point we had [centre] Alyce Shearing as the one big on court and four perimeters working around her.
''It will be good to have a couple more big bodies out there.''
Hunt didn't play SEABL last year, opting to sit out the winter months to recover from niggling injuries.
''She'll be an awesome leader for us,'' Jansen said.
The Canberra Gunners have also recruited impressively after winning just one game last season.
Former NBL player Jeff Dowdell and American recruit Camontae Griffin will bring some extra class, while guard Daniel Joyce will join the team once his NBL commitments with the Sydney Kings are over.
SEABL round one: Canberra v Brisbane at Belconnen Basketball Stadium (women 4pm, men 6pm).