Canberra Capitals beat Chinese women's national B basketball team in pre-season

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory

Michelle Cosier goes for the ball
Image: Laura Hale.

Wednesday night, the Canberra Capitals defeated the Chinese women's national B basketball team 75–64 at the Belconnen Basketball Centre in a pre-season warm up game before the start of the Women's National Basketball League in October.

Several new players joined the Capitals this season, including Samantha Norwood, Valeria Ogoke, and Tessa Lavey, while Natalie Porter, Carly Wilson, and Marianna Tolo are not with the team this season.

Playing before a packed crowd, the game started with both teams' national anthems played, followed by the Capitals giving their guests mini-basketballs. Canberra started with Nicole Hunt, Jessica Bibby, Samantha Norwood, Ogoke, and Michelle Cosier on the floor. China's starting lineup included Liang Jiamei, Ma Xueya, Cui Xiaoxue, Huang Hongpin, and Shen Yi.

The Capitals led early in the first with a score of 6–2 and then 6–4, before Jiamei made a three pointer to put China ahead 6–7 by the time there was 6:33 left in the first. Both teams made a number of substitutions in the first quarter and tried to shoot 3-point shots that they did not land. The Capitals could not keep their hands on the ball, turning it over several times in the first. Playing a zone defense, the Chinese team appeared to have better control on their side of the court when playing zone defense on that side of the court, while the Chinese offense frustrated the Capitals who were playing man-to-man and appeared to lose the woman they were marking. The Chinese were also quick to foul, allowing Canberra to go into bonus. The quarter ended 13–19 thanks to a last minute shot by Hunt.

The second quarter started with a Canberra possession, where they turned over the ball to China before they were able to get a shot up. Ogoke managed to steal the ball back before China could capitalize on the turnover. The Chinese bench started making noise on the bench, cheering and chanting to support their teammates on the court. The Capitals coach, Carrie Graf, was very animated on the sidelines. Chinese fouls sent Canberra to the line several times, with Norwood scoring a pair with 1:41 left in the half. Dombkins made a pair of baskets in the remaining time to bring the score to within two by end of the quarter.

At the end of the first half, with the score 31–33 in favour of China, Norwood led the Capitals in scoring with 11 points and was the only team member in double digits. Mikaela Dombkins and Hunt both had 6 points, with six total Capitals players having gotten points on the board. On the Chinese side, Sun Mengran led her team in scoring with 12 points. Jiamei was second with 5 points, and seven other players also scored.

Contrasting half time styles saw the Capitals go into the locker room, while China stayed on the court and practice shooting baskets. When the second half got under way, Ogoke scored for Canberra to tie up the game. China scored to go up again, but Cosier then drew a foul, went to the line and made a pair of baskets to tie the game again. Ogoke scored again and the Capitals went ahead by two. Bibby quickly added to the lead with another 2 points. Following a Chinese time out, China took advantage of a free throw opportunity to narrow the score to 39–37. Canberra fell apart a bit, with Cosier turning over the ball and Bibby missing a pass because she was out of position. Thee Capitals were not marking players, leaving the Chinese shooters open, but they could not get the ball in the net. A 3-point shot by China had them ahead by one. With 5:27 left in the third, Canberra was leading by three. By the time there was 1:18 left, Canberra led by 53–46 with China in foul trouble and the Capitals sitting there with four. Four seconds later, Bibby drew a foul and was all smiles before going to the line. Once there, she put her game face on and scored a pair of free throws to put the Capitals up by 9. With 50.6 seconds left in the third, Cheng Feng fouled out and sent Bibby to the line again, where Bibby scored another pair of three throws. Graf was yelling at her team to push down the court, and Hunt did, scoring 2 points to put her team ahead by 13. With 5 seconds left in the quarter, the Capitals turn the ball over and the quarter ends 59–46.

Hunt, Bibby, Norwood, Ogoke and Cosier started the fourth for Canberra, while Ma Xueya, Sun Mengran, Jiamei, Shen Yi and Huang Hongpin started for China. China continued to play zone defense in this quarter and their bench continued to support their on court players. With the Caps ahead 61–50, Graf yelled at Hunt to shoot, and Hunt did, making a 3-point shot. Later in the quarter, Hunt shot an airball and Brigitte Ardossi did a good job keeping in play, getting the ball back to Hunt who failed to score on the next shot. Hunt would finish the half 2 of 4 from 2 point range. With 4:52 left in the game, China took a time out. On the bench, Xueya had her fingers buddy taped, despite not starting the game with her fingers that way. Following the time out, Graf had to yell at Bibby several times. On the next opportunity to bring subs in, Bibby was subbed out of the game. China kept trying to score 3 points but was unable to capitalise. By the time there was 2:09 left in the game, Hunt was trying to slow play down. When Hunt was subbed out, the game sped up again. With 24 seconds left, China scored a 3 pointer to bring the score to 75–64 where the score remained unchanged in the remaining time.

The game ended with Jessica Bibby leading in scoring for her team with 16 total points, 1 point ahead of Norwood who had 15 and 2 points ahead of Hunt who had 14. 6 of Bibby's points came from a pair of 3-point shots in the second half. The only other player for her team to score a 3 pointer was Hunt. Only Tessa Lavey, who played only 2 minutes and 12 seconds and the returning Alice Coddington who played 13 minutes and 56 seconds failed to score for the Capitals. Dombkins led her team in rebounding with 8, while newcomer Ogoke had 7.

The Canberra Capitals regular season starts on October 5, with first home game to be played on October 20, which will be Lauren Jackson's first game with the team.


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.