Graf confident of Ardossi over Langford
Canberra Capitals player Brigitte Ardossi. Photo: Melissa Adams
Canberra coach Carrie Graf has challenged Brigitte Ardossi to lock down Logan star Emma Langford when the Capitals begin a gruelling pre-Christmas schedule on Friday night.
The Thunder forward has been a thorn in the Capitals side this season, scoring 43 points in two matches.
Langford's athleticism and versatility has provided headaches for Canberra's post players, but Graf has full faith Ardossi can negate her influence.
''I think she [Ardossi] has got better defensively on perimeter-type players, and she's pretty good at moving her feet when she's focused and can take some charges,'' Graf said.
''We'll throw that challenge out to Biz and see if she can step up to the plate. Langford's a front-to-the-basket type, and that creates challenges for classic post players.
''She's very good at shooting that long range two, she can play off the dribble and once she gets her eye in she can score pretty well.''
Ardossi, one of the Capitals' best all season, is relishing the task of outpointing one of Logan's pivotal scorers, with Natalie Taylor and American Laurie Koehn their other offensive focal points.
''With my strength I get stuck with the bigger players, and I relish playing the players that are a bit more athletic because I think I have that in my game as well,'' Ardossi said. ''Anybody that's ever watched a basketball game knows you don't just play on one person, it's a team effort with a lot of switching and mismatching going on. Our help defence is something we've been working on this week, and I think it'll show on the court.''
With the season split on the line at AIS Arena, the Logan clash is the first of six games in 20 days for Canberra.
Sunday's visit to title favourites Dandenong kicks off four straight road matches, including trips to top outfits Bendigo and Adelaide.
Canberra will start underdogs against star-studded Dandenong, making Friday's home clash all the more pivotal.
But Ardossi bristled when asked if the fourth-placed Capitals would head south with a nothing-to-lose approach.
Having already proven they can topple the top sides with a round-six win over the previously unbeaten Bendigo, the forward is confident Canberra can spring an upset. ''Everyone needs to realise we haven't really played a lot of the top teams yet,'' she said. ''I don't think we're going down there with an all-or-nothing attitude, I think we're going in there quite confident.''
Graf insisted the side hasn't been distracted by the looming Rangers clash, given the importance of beating Logan on Friday.
''Not at all, our focus is on taking care of business in our home gym,'' Graf said. ''To be honest the Logan game's more important to us than the Dandenong, if you have to split them. It's a home game, it's against an opponent we can win the [season] split on. There's no question Bendigo and Dandenong are title favourites right now, I don't think anyone would argue that.''