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Bulleen hands Caps another lesson

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The Canberra Capitals copped an early WNBL title reality check after being thrashed by reigning champion Bulleen yesterday.

In a rematch of last season's grand final, the Capitals coughed up a whopping 23 turnovers in their 88-68 loss to the Boomers in their season-opener at the Veneto Club.

The Capitals must rectify their defensive issues before today's second leg of the double-header against the Dandenong Rangers in Melbourne.

Capitals coach Carrie Graf slammed her team's sloppy ball handling and inability to deny the Boomers second-chance points, with forwards Alice Kunek and Rachel Jarry causing Canberra nightmares in the rebounding stakes.

''The possession game was the big thing and Kunek and Jarry in particular killed us on the offensive glass,'' Graf said.

''Our rebounding and inability to retain the ball were the critical areas.

''We have to get a lot more out of a lot more people if we're going to win.''

Guard Carly Wilson top-scored for the Capitals with 16 points along with 10 rebounds, while point guard Nicole Hunt got away to a fast start with 12 first-quarter points until she was hampered by an ankle injury.

Hunt's counterpart Samantha Richards led the Boomers superbly with a game-high 19 points to go with six assists and zero turnovers.

''I think 'Flea' [Hunt] got a lesson in point guard [play] from Sam Richards, her penetration really hurt us,'' Graf said.

''Flea was solid at the start and she's still going to be a work in progress.

''There's going to be a lot of load on her [this season], she'll play 30 minutes and when she rolled her ankle it impacted a bit.''

In her first match for Canberra, Sydney recruit Mikaela Dombkins provided punch off the bench with 11 points and eight rebounds.

But Graf said it would be up to the team's established stars to step up until the newcomers found their feet.

''Our core has to carry the load early, the new people in our program aren't going to make or break us right now,'' she said.

''They have to carry the can and the others will add a bit, but it's really up to the core that's been there before.''

The Boomers built their emphatic win without any real impact from star centre Liz Cambage.

Cambage was restricted to 10 points and looked cumbersome at times in her first match since her debut WNBA season with Tulsa.

Despite keeping Cambage quiet, the visitors were smashed on the offensive glass.

Bulleen outscored Canberra 35-12 in the paint and made the Capitals pay for their mistakes by scoring 12 points off their turnovers.

The match looked in danger of blowing out in the second quarter when Bulleen built a 16-point lead, but Wilson stepped up to get Canberra within seven at half- time.

After the long break Bulleen scored nine unanswered points to break away again and led by as much as 25 in the last quarter.

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