Physicality looms as the key to shutting down Southside Flyers giant Liz Cambage as the Canberra Capitals set their sights on the WNBL's clash of the titans.
So says Capitals co-captain Marianna Tolo as the two sides prepare to collide in a grand final rematch at the Cairns Pop-Up Arena on Monday night.
Cambage is ranked in the top three for average points [20.2 per game] and rebounds [9.4] while leading the league in average blocks [2.2] throughout her return.
But Tolo is confident the Capitals can frustrate the Flyers recruit into submission after Cambage spoke out about how frustrating she finds playing in the WNBL having sworn she wouldn't return to Australia's domestic competition.
Cambage has said she is told by whistleblowers how hard is it to referee her, and she feels she has to shrink her game because other people can't handle it.
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"The key against Liz is to frustrate her," Tolo said.
"She can get easily frustrated by a bit of contact. The way the refs are calling it, it's going to be tough, because they're calling a lot of fouls this season.
"It's going to be about doing work early and trying not to let her get as close to the ring as possible, force her to take some shots which are possibly at a lower percentage for her.
"If we make mistakes against Southside, they're going to punish us with a lot of points. Our thing will be trying not to let them do that and stop them as much as possible."
The Capitals will ride a four-game winning streak into the Flyers clash having come from behind to defeat the Sydney Flames in Cairns on Saturday night.
Canberra endured a lacklustre start to the contest before finding their rhythm to come away with a 68-63 win on the back of a dominant second half.
Co-captain Kelsey Griffin says the "dogfight" against Sydney forced the Capitals to adapt after they fell short of their own lofty standards in the opening stages.
"We have team sessions that set up who we want to be and what we want to be throughout this season. One of our things is being relentless, and we weren't being relentless [against Sydney]," Griffin said.
"We weren't showing the things we said we want to be. You have to give some credit to Sydney but part of it is on us and how we were approaching the game.
"[Coach Paul Goriss'] half-time talk and his post-game talk were really good and set the tone for the second half and for preparations for today and tomorrow.
"We can go 12 deep and everyone on our team can play. When you're looking at a match-up like Southside, it's not just one person's responsibility to do anything, we do things by committing.
"It's going to be four quarters and we need all four quarters against Southside. That's what has kind of been shown in our closer games, our second halves are stronger.
"We make adjustments and that's probably what you're going to see against Southside as well."
The Flyers clash is the next step in Canberra's "most intense week" which originally had the reigning champions slated for five matches and travel from Cairns to Townsville within eight days.
But Adelaide's forced quarantine saw WNBL officials slash games off the schedule, with each team now playing 13 regular season games instead of 14. Canberra's game against Sydney on Wednesday has been culled, which means their win over the weekend gives them a vital split.
"Every game counts. With only eight games left now, it's coming quickly and it's all happening very fast," Tolo said.
"Especially against teams you should beat, we really need to get those wins and not let any upsets happen. They can come and bite you in the butt."
Round three: Monday, November 23 - Southside Flyers v Canberra Capitals at Cairns Pop-Up Arena, 6pm.