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Batkovic or bust as Caps prepare to battle former teammate

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She's the former colleague who this weekend could all but end Canberra's finals hopes.

And the Capitals know they must find a way to curb Suzy Batkovic's influence if they are produce a road upset in Adelaide on Sunday.

As far as Canberra coach Carrie Graf is concerned, the centre has been ''hands down'' the league's standout player thus far.

Batkovic who played for the Capitals last season, is the major reason why Adelaide (8-2) is perched atop the WNBL ladder.

The 30-year-old leads the league in average points (25), rebounds (10.8) and steals (3.1) per game, as well as 2.8 assists.

They are most valuable player-calibre numbers, and Canberra (3-7) will need to revert to plan B to stop her.

Natalie Porter helped restrict Batkovic to 15 points, her lowest scoring output of the season, in Adelaide's come-from-behind 75-71 win in Canberra a month ago.

But the former Olympian is unavailable through work commitments, and tall bench option Hannah Bowley may miss up to three weeks with a hamstring problem.

It means Brigitte Ardossi and Marianna Tolo will carry a heavy workload inside, trying to contain Batkovic and fellow Opals centre Abby Bishop.

Versatile back-courter Carly Wilson is also likely to play big minutes at power forward to help counter Adelaide's size advantage.

Graf yesterday joked the injuries may force her to play diminutive point guard Nicole Hunt on Batkovic.

But she's deadly serious when acknowledging the threat Batkovic poses to the Capitals' campaign.

''Suzy's dominating. She's dominating the boards and dominating the scoring,'' Graf said. ''She's getting defences thrown at her and getting a lot of attention, but one of Suzy's great skills is she knows how to score.''

On paper it is a daunting task, but Canberra is quietly confident it can win after pushing the Lightning in round four.

The Capitals led for all bar 2minutes of the game, before Batkovic went to work in the final quarter.

Canberra is yet to beat a top-five team and a win in Adelaide would provide a significant confidence boost ahead of the six straight games at home which follow.

''It was probably one of our better games with processes and performance, even though we didn't get the win,'' Graf said.

Canberra faces West Coast on Friday night in Perth before its Sunday Adelaide assignment.

The Waves have won just once all season, and lost to the Capitals by 35points in Canberra three weeks ago. They have shown signs of huge improvement since, getting within eight points of defending champion Bulleen before leading Logan at three-quarter-time last week.

''They're a good team at home and their last few results have been positive, even though they haven't been wins,'' Graf said.

WNBL round nine: West Coast Waves v Canberra Capitals at WA Basketball Centre, Perth. 10.30pm

Adelaide Lightning v Canberra Capitals at the Dome, Adelaide, 3.30pm.

This reporter is on Twitter: @tuxy81

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