Capitals' face strong Spirit in rematch
THE CANBERRA Capitals proved tight defence can win games when they beat the previously unbeaten Bendigo Spirit in a low-scoring clash last Sunday, but the Caps will have extra work to do when they face the league leaders again on Sunday at the renamed Lauren Jackson Sports Centre in Albury.
Already sporting the best point guard in the competition in Kristi Harrower and in-form centre Gabrielle Richards, Bendigo added Kelsey Griffin, the No.3 pick in the 2010 WNBA draft, during the week, with the American scoring 22 points and eight rebounds in her first game, against Sydney University on Friday night.
''Obviously they've got three crucial spots covered in a good point guard, a centre and now a versatile wing player,'' coach Sandy Tomley said. ''That always helps any team.
''We're obviously going to have a focus on them, but you can't let other players step up. All we can do is defensively stick to our assignments.''
Veteran Carly Wilson admitted they don't know much about Griffin as they chase the series win over Bendigo.
''We're going to have to go in a little bit blind, but you respect her like we respect all the other players and try to play her straight up and adjust as the game goes on when we see what it is exactly that she's going to try to attack us with,'' Wilson said.
With Griffin representing an unknown, Wilson will again be tasked with limiting the impact of Harrower, the pint-sized point guard representing a mammoth task in itself.
''It's a huge challenge … obviously she's a multiple Olympian and known as the best point guard in the league, and people will often tell you she's the best at using an on-ball screen in the world. She's just a phenomenal player,'' Wilson said.
''But also just her position [point guard], that's not someone I normally would defend … so that adds another facet to the challenge,'' she said.
She also noted the size difference between them, with Wilson nearly 30 centimetres taller.
''It's not necessarily about stopping her, it's about slowing her down because she's such a good player she's going to get her points, she's going to control the team no matter what you do, so it's for me just trying to make it as difficult for her as I can.''
The Capitals will again be without Lauren Jackson, but have been spurred on by the added interest of playing in the stadium named after their teammate, who has played host in her home town.
''We got here a couple of days early to do a couple of appearances at the Lauren Jackson Centre,'' Wilson said.
''It's been a good chance for us to all hang out together and have a bit of fun on the road.''
WNBL, round seven: Bendigo Spirit v Canberra Capitals, at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre, Albury, 2pm