New faces, nerves and the hand of Jessica Bibby played big roles in Sydney Uni Flames’ loss to Canberra Capitals in the opening round of the 2012-13 Women’s National Basketball League.
Bibby, who is edging towards 250 WNBL games in a professional career that began in 2005, topscored with 18 in a tight affair which saw the Capitals triumph 74-61 on the back of a dominant second quarter at the Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Her experience shone in the second term when the Capitals extended an 18-15 lead into a 41-30 margin at the main break.
The Flames made good use of the break, dusted off their nerves and played with intent in the third term to reduce the deficit to 57-41.
They maintained the momentum at the start of the final quarter and were within a basket of levelling the scores before the Capitals closed it out.
Bibby was well supported by Carly Wilson, who posted 16 points for the match, including 6 of 8 from the field, while Tayla Roberts topscored for the Flames with 15, with Alicia Poto contributing 11.
Capitals coach Carrie Graf was satisfied with her team’s performance. “To get a win on the road was great for us, considering that we were undermanned,” she said, referring to the impending return of Lauren Jackson.
Sydney Uni Flames coach Karen Dalton was understandably disappointed: “We need to go back to the drawing board and work on the basics.”
Both teams have a six-day turnaround before their next matches on October 12, with the Capitals heading to the far north to take on Townsville and the Flames crossing the Nullarbor to tangle with West Coast Fever.
Women’s National Basketball League – Round 1
Canberra Capitals 74 (Jessica Bibby 18, Carly Wilson 16, Brigitte Ardossi 10, Samantha Norwood 10) d Sydney Uni Flames 61 (Tayla Roberts 15, Alicia Poto 11) at Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre.