Canberra TransACT Capitals Coach Carrie Graf has said her team will be ready for war as they take on the Bulleen Boomers in Saturday’s top of the table WNBL clash at AIS Arena.
The two teams have squared off in the last two WNBL finals, with the Capitals winning both times by a margin of three points. Graf said there’s no love lost between the sides.
“Those last two WNBL finals have been close games and have come right down to the wire. There are a lot of great players and match ups between the two sides. You’ve got a lot of Opals players going head to head and also, Tom Maher is the former Australian coach and I’m the current Australian Coach. There’s definitely a rivalry there,” Graf said.
The game is likely to decide the competition’s WNBL Minor Premier and determine who has home court advantage for the playoffs. The Capitals are hoping for a huge crowd on Saturday, 7PM at AIS Arena for a game that promises to be a great contest.
“The teams match up well and have a lot of depth and size. It will be a tough contest to determine first spot,” Graf said.
Centre Suzy Batkovic admits she will have to be at her best when she matches up against Bulleen star and consecutive WNBL Player of the Month, Elizabeth Cambage.
“It’s going to be one of the hardest games of the season. It’s definitely a tough matchup, she is a big player and it’s always tough coming against someone of her size and athleticism.
“At the same time it’s a challenge I’m looking forward too. I feel I haven’t been playing that well and I know I’ve got more to give. I look forward to lifting on Saturday. I still think the caps are going to get over Bulleen,” Batkovic said.
Captain and sharp shooter Jessica Bibby said while a lot of the focus will be on Cambage, there will be some excellent matchups around the perimeter too.
“O’Hea and their other guards will be a big focus. They certainly aren’t a one horse team.
“This is a real test for whose best in the league. They’ve had two grand final losses to us in the last two years, so a win for them will really help their self belief. We’re certainly going to make it tough,” Bibby said.
One group of Canberrans hoping Bibby and other Capitals sharp shooters are uncontested around the three point line is the ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group. The Healthy Hoops program will be donating $300 for every three pointer made for the Canberra Capitals. This season, the Capitals are averaging seven made 3 pointers per game. A signed Capitals jersey will also be raffled off on the night to raise funds for Queensland flood victims.
Coach Graf says the team is going into the game with confidence.
“We have to go into these games feeling confident. The Capitals have a long winning history. We are conditioned to win and are ready for these big games,” Graf concluded.
Canberrans are encouraged to cheer on the Caps and create a hostile playing environment for the Boomers so Canberra can secure top spot and a home playoff birth.
Tip off is at 7pm Saturday 29 January at AIS Arena.