Capitals 77 Lightning 71
Canberra Capitals down Adelaide Lightning
Canberra Capitals players celebrate after their win over Adelaide at the AIS Arena. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Desire, desperation and determination.
It sounds simple, but they're the ingredients the Canberra Capitals used to revive their season with a gusty 77-71 win over Adelaide at AIS Arena on Friday.
Capitals star Abby Bishop rallied her teammates to find their 'mongrel' this week, and they clearly listened.
There are still issues to fix, but their improved work rate was evident after it was sorely lacking in a 1-3 start to the season.
Locked in a dogfight for much of the match, a clutch three-pointer from Jess Bibby (24 points) gave Canberra an eight-point lead midway through the last quarter.
It proved the dagger which killed off Adelaide's challenge, and has the potential to breathe life into Canberra's campaign.
It was fitting that Bibby iced the game after becoming the seventh player to reach 4000 WNBL points during the match.
Her teammates ensured she celebrated the milestone in style by proving they're not a spent force yet.
"It was a work-rate thing, we've been really exposed the last couple of weeks,'' Bibby said.
"It was almost laughable watching the tape how soft we've been, just [missing] that desire to outwork our opponent.''
With a tough road stretch to come after next week's home battle with Dandenong, Canberra was desperate to win.
Out-rebounded 50-21 in a loss in Adelaide two weeks ago, an outsized Canberra edged the Lightning 40-39 on the glass.
Canberra's veterans also rallied when they were needed. Point guard Nat Hurst (18 points) was far more aggressive, while Bishop (15 points, 14 rebounds, four assists) was outstanding.
Star forward Laura Hodges (20 points) was inspirational in the post for the Lightning, but played a lone hand offensively.
Graf said some home truths were spoken behind closed doors this week, and the team responded.
"Our defensive urgency was much better than it had been,'' Graf said.
"We made better physical efforts to be in every contest, it was gritty. There was improvement from our veterans in the way they approach the game, and our 'baby bigs' [Alex Bunton and Carley Mijovic] took some steps.''
CANBERRA CAPITALS 77 (Jess Bibby 24, Nat Hurst 18, Abby Bishop 15) bt ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 71 (Laura Hodges 20, Jess Foley 14, Amy Lewis 10) at AIS Arena on Friday.