Capitals put faith in youngsters to arrest losing streak
Centre Alex Bunton should now get more game time. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
The worst losing streak in club history is looming large, but that won't stop the Canberra Capitals from looking towards the future by giving their young players more game time in Adelaide and Perth this weekend.
Having slumped to a 5-11 record after eight straight defeats, Canberra will equal its longest losing run of 10 should it succumb on the road in games against the Adelaide Lightning on Friday night, and the West Coast Waves on Saturday night. But with the finals an unrealistic goal, combined with season-ending surgery to Lauren Jackson, it means the Capitals will experiment in their last eight games.
Tessa Lavey, Casey Samuels, Alice Coddington and Alex Bunton can all expect more court time, despite the unwelcome prospect of erasing the 1996-97 side from the record books.
''We're still about trying to fix the things we haven't been doing well and trying to find ways to win, but in the mix of that is looking at our rotations and players that are part of our future, development players,'' coach Carrie Graf said.
''[Centre] Bunton is a classic example, it's great for those players to get minutes and have a look at our back-up point guards [Coddington and Lavey].
''With a definitive answer on Loz [Jackson], it does change things. We'll start looking at different rotations and systems, look at different groups on the floor and battle away trying to get a win.
''It's a combination of looking at younger players, but the others too in terms of what they need to be learning and [how they should perform] under major duress.''
Despite being carried off with an ankle injury during last week's 39-point loss to the Dandenong Rangers, centre Brigitte Ardossi travelled with the side on Thursday night.
Graf said Ardossi would play but was not a certain starter given the Capitals sit four games outside the top four.
Bench guard Mikaela Dombkins was a late withdrawal from the Rangers match, and will not play this weekend as she nurses back and hip niggles.
''Ardossi only practised once this week, the ankle's a little tender but she should get through two games,'' Graf said. ''There's no major structural damage, nothing the physios are concerned about her injuring it further, or they wouldn't allow her to play otherwise.
''Dombkins' injury gives Casey Samuels an opportunity to come in [after time off with a knee injury] and have a crack.''
Forward Valerie Ogoke, who began the season with the Capitals, returned home to Perth over Christmas but will rejoin the side for the Waves match to bolster their depleted ranks.
Adelaide Lightning v Canberra Capitals at Adelaide Arena, 8pm.
West Coast Waves v Canberra Capitals at WA Basketball Centre, 10.30pm.