Caps' shooting woes prove costly
Canberra Capitals skipper Jess Bibby. Photo: Rohan Thomson
The Canberra Capitals are in free fall after dropping their sixth straight game and plummeting further adrift of the WNBL top four.
The Capitals never looked likely to challenge the Adelaide Lightning, trailing at every break on their way to a 70-52 loss at the Adelaide Arena on Sunday.
Captain Jess Bibby top-scored for the Capitals with 13 points but their woeful 33 per cent shooting from the field and 14 per cent from beyond the three-point arc, along with 24 turnovers, proved their downfall.
The Capitals are now 5-9 for the season and two games behind the fourth-placed Townsville Fire (7-6), who they host at the AIS Arena on Friday night.
''It [losing six in a row] has put us in a little bit of a hole but we're certainly not going to drop our heads and give up,'' Bibby said. ''We've got the talent to win games we're not winning … Just need to make those few adjustments and find ways to win.''
It's a remarkable fall from grace for the Capitals, who at one stage emerged as a serious threat to collect the club's eighth championship.
A stunning 59-54 win on the road, inflicting the first loss on the Bendigo Spirit on November 11, improved the Capitals to 5-3 and presented early evidence they could prosper without injured superstar Lauren Jackson.
The past six games - including a humiliating 46-point defeat to the Sydney Uni Flames, the second-biggest in the Capitals' history - have demonstrated that clearly isn't the case.
With Jackson out indefinitely with a torn adductor muscle, the Capitals must quickly discover an offensive spark or watch their season slip away.
They have averaged a mere 61 points a game during their losing streak as they struggle to find alternative options in place of the unavailable four-time Olympian.
It was the Capitals' second loss in three days after a shock 75-62 defeat to the lowly West Coast Waves in Perth on Friday night.
''We need to look after the ball a little bit more and give ourselves more opportunities to score,'' Bibby said.
''Defensively, we were better and, hopefully, we can take that into next week and after Christmas.
''We also talked about people getting in extra [training] sessions so they can continue to work on their offensive games so we can knock down our shots consistently.''
The Capitals competed strongly in the opening quarter to trail the Lightning (third, 9-4) by three points at the first break.
But it was the middle 20-minute period where the gulf in class became evident.
Even without Opals stalwart and former Capitals star Suzy Batkovic (neck) and New Zealand point guard Angela Marino, the Lightning blew the game open with a 35-17 scoring run before switching off in the final quarter.
The Capitals kept some respectability by winning that 21-18.
Meanwhile, Bendigo dropped the first game of its Queensland road trip to Townsville, but recovered to down Logan 69-61 on Sunday and stay a game clear at the top of the WNBL ladder.
Townsville (7-6) claimed fourth spot with their spirited 56-52 win over Bendigo, making it four wins from their past five games.
Defending champions Dandenong (11-3) are now one win behind pace-setting Bendigo (12-2). with AAP