A Marianna Tolo masterclass has seen the Canberra Capitals shoot down the Southside Flyers to ignite their chase for a record 10th title.
The Capitals put on a clinic to secure a monster 95-72 win over the Southside Flyers in a WNBL grand final rematch at Cairns Pop-Up Arena on Monday night.
Canberra now boast a 5-1 record in a 13-game schedule with a defensive clinic against a Southside outfit which had averaged 98.2 points per game in their opening five matches this season.
Yet all they could muster in the opening half was 32 against a physical Capitals outfit with Tolo setting the tone early in her battle with Liz Cambage as the reigning champions stamped themselves as the team to beat this season.
Cambage still posted a game-high 26 points but struggled to make an impact in defence having been caught in foul trouble in the second quarter.
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Tolo starred for the Capitals with 19 points and seven rebounds - but the impact of the guard rotation led by Maddison Rocci [17 points] and Jade Melbourne  could not be understated while rival Leilani Mitchell could manage just three.
"We knew it was going to be a super tough match-up tonight, so to come out on top and get that win, it was a massive effort by everyone," Rocci said on Kayo's post-game broadcast.
"Everybody who comes in does their job. Either at the defensive end or offensive end, we always have players who step up each game so we don't have to rely on that one person.
"We definitely pride ourselves on the defensive end and that's the way we win games, our defensive pressure and that flows into our offence. Obviously there's lots to improve on.
"They're a great team, everybody in that team can definitely play. We can't look at it as a massive jump ahead of ourselves. It was a great effort and we've got to match up against them again and it's going to be even tougher.
"We've just got to come out each game and keep performing."
Canberra took a 12-point lead into the main break with Flyers giants Cambage already in serious foul trouble with four to her name as the Capitals frustrated her out of the contest.
So it was Sara Blicavs putting Southside on her back with 17 of their 32 first half points - their lowest half-time score this season - with Tolo and Tahlia Tupaea leading the way for the Capitals.
Cambage was injected into the contest again midway through the third quarter and she notched 12 points in the term - a vital effort given Jenna O'Hea soon had four fouls to her name.
Yet it would count for little against a rampant Canberra outfit fuelled by fast-paced guards and a dominant big in Tolo.
AT A GLANCE
WNBL round three: CANBERRA CAPITALS 95 (Marianna Tolo 19, Maddison Rocci 17, Jade Melbourne 14) bt SOUTHSIDE FLYERS 72 (Liz Cambage 26, Sara Blicavs 21, Rachel Jarry 7) at Cairns Pop-Up Arena.