1 March 2022

If the UC Capitals win the WNBL title, it could be the greatest performance in the Club’s history

| Tim Gavel
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Kelsey Griffin

UC Caps Kelsey Griffin. Photo: UC Caps.

In the lead up to the 2006-2007 WNBL season, there were many involved in women’s basketball in Australia who felt as though the Capitals would struggle.

The side had won the title the season before with Lauren Jackson leading the side to victory in the decider against Dandenong.

Lauren Jackson

Lauren Jackson is recognised worldwide for her contribution to the sport of basketball. Photo: Basketball Australia.

With Jackson’s departure at the end of the 2005-2006 season, there was a perception that the next season would be a rebuilding year.

Perceptions can be wrong. Coach Carrie Graf recruited Jess Bibby and Abby Bishop and the rest is history.

In the finals series in 2007, the Capitals went down to the Sydney Uni Flames in the major semi-final before winning the preliminary final against Adelaide.

The Capitals met the Sydney Uni Flames again the following weekend. The Caps rebounded from the previous loss to the Flames to defeat them in the decider and secure their fifth WNBL title.

Since then, the UC Capitals have gone on to win other championships.

UC Caps at the AIS Arena after defeating the Adelaide Lightning to win the championship in 2019. Photo: Tim Gavel.

UC Caps at the AIS Arena after defeating the Adelaide Lightning to win the 2018-19 season championship. Photo: Tim Gavel.

If they win a 10th title this season, in my mind, it will surpass the feats of 2006-2007.

The side is without key players Marianna Tolo and Maddi Rocci, who left the Caps at the end of 2021, and the team has been forced to overcome hurdles almost on a weekly basis.

To emphasise this point, the Capitals lost four players before the game on the weekend against the fifth-placed Townsville Flames because of COVID protocols. Yet they went on to defeat the Fire 84-58, with an inspired Kelsey Griffin taking complete control of the game.

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Overcoming hurdles appears to be a mantra within the team this season. They have coped with issues ranging from significant COVID disruptions to the ban imposed on coach Paul Gorris.

If anything, it has united the team and the road ahead towards the finals looks to be anything but smooth.

The Capitals take on the Melbourne Boomers on Sunday in their final home game before hitting the road for all of March.

As it stands, the Capitals have won six in a row, including the game forfeited by the Southside Flyers.

The Caps are second on the ladder behind the Perth Lynx.

Let’s hope the spirit generated through hardship this season will propel the side towards the championship.

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