Canberra Capitals extinguish the Fire, 76–68

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Capitals starting line up. Left to right: Hunt (obscured), Ardossi (No. 35), Wilson (in pink socks), Bibby (in long white socks). Team mascot Cap Man can be seen in the background with the umpires.
Image: Hawkeye7.
Casey Samuels stepped up into a starring role.
Image: Hawkeye7.
Sam Norwood played a key defensive role.
Image: Hawkeye7.
Tessa Lavey is all smiles after the game.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Canberra, Australia — Last night the Canberra Capitals women's basketball team defeated Townsville Fire 76–68 in a bruising encounter at the AIS Arena.

A small crowd of about 700 was on hand to watch the Capitals play. The Capitals had only won one of their last twelve games — though Canberra and Townsville have been the only teams to defeat Bendigo Spirit, the top side in the competition. The normally upbeat program guide advised that "a Capitals win tonight is not out of the question".

Nicole Hunt, Jessica Bibby, Brigitte Ardossi, Michelle Cosier and Carly Wilson formed the starting line up. Ardossi returned after not playing last week due to a concussion. Mikaela Dombkins, who also did not play last week, was missing entirely this week, but Lauren Jackson was still on hand, mainly to sign autographs.

Ardossi took a hard knock in the first minutes of the game. She went off, replaced by Samantha Norwood, but would soon return to the court. Several minutes passed without either side scoring. Wilson attempted, but missed, a three pointer, and Bibby had a shot that hit the ring. After a series of turnovers, the Fire put the first score on the board. Canberra's response came from Norwood, who drew a foul and scored a point from a free throw.

The score went to 3–4 after Hunt scored a basket. She then took a rebound to return possession to Canberra. Bibby made a second attempt at a long shot, which missed, but Wilson scored. A few minutes later, Bibby tried another three point shot and again failed, but on the next play assisted Ardossi in tying the score at 9–9. By quarter time the Capitals were down 12–17.

The five starters took to the court again in the second quarter. The Fire scored first. Ardossi attempted a long shot, which failed, but a turnover saw Cosier score, assisted by Hunt. A penalty gave the Capitals possession again soon after, and Alexandra Bunton scored with one second left on the shot clock.

Wilson, substituting for Hunt as point guard, ran over the line with the ball. However, she lifted over the next few minutes, making a three pointer to take the score to 24–29, and then running past the opposition to take another great shot which sailed through the basket without touching the hoop to make it 26–29.

The rest of the side now suddenly also found something extra. Hunt and Norwood teamed up to grab a quick score from a turnover, and Ardossi took a rebound at one end of the court and scored at the other. Another rebound from Ardossi saw Hunt score as the crowd counted down with the shot clock, to give the Capitals, who had been six points down a few minutes before, a four point lead 33–29. But in the last minutes of the half, the Fire scored twice more, and Bibby missed once more, so the scores were tied at half time, 33–33.

After a half time cheerleading demonstration by the Canberra Sirens Cheerleaders, Hunt, Wilson, Norwood, Cosier and Argossi started in the third quarter. Argossi posted the first score, making it 35–33. A couple of rebounds by Cosier saw Ardossi take two more from the free throw line. The Fire then fought back to 37–36. The game still refused to fall into the usual to-and-from characteristic of basketball. Bibby missed a shot, Ardossi fell over dramatically, Hunt took the rebound, Wilson tried to get a long shot, and finally Bunton managed to score.

A stumble by Hunt saw a Fire player attempting a lone run at the basket, only to be stopped by Wilson. Two Fire free throws later, the score was 39–38. Hunt took a long shot to make it 41–38, Bibby missed another one, and then Hunt got one single handed, bringing it to 43–41, of which Hunt had scored nine. Bibby, who had still not scored, was knocked down in a bone crunching collision with an opponent. It took some time before her Capitals team mates helped her up. The Fire player was not so lucky, and remained on the floor for several minutes. Bibby was replaced by Casey Samuels. Two baskets by the Fire tied the score again, but Hunt scored twice more before the three quarter time siren, making it 49–45.

Hunt scored first for her side in the final quarter, bring the score to 51–47, of which she was responsible for 15. The Fire posted one in response, but a defensive error let Wilson stand on the free throw line and take an uncontested shot. Alice Coddington scored a three pointer, Samuels a two pointer, and Cosier another three pointer. The scoreboard now read 61–52. A second three pointer by Cosier soon made it 64–52.

Following a controversial decision involving Ardossi for which the umpire was loudly booed, the Fire fought back to 66–62, but Hunt and Ardossi each scored to hold them at bay. There then followed a few minutes of farce as the game was halted due to a problem with the shot clock. Once this was fixed, played resumed, with Ardossi and Hunt competing for the highest score.

The scoreboard read 76–68 at the final siren, leaving the Capitals with a hard-earned if unexpected win. The highest scorer was Hunt, with 21 points, closely followed by Ardossi with 20, Cosier with 10, and Wilson with 9. Samuels had 6, Norwood had 5, Coddington had 3 from a single shot, and Bunton had 2 from a shot in the third quarter. Bibby was left scoreless.

The Capitals now have games at Bendigo and Bulleen, before their final match of the year at the AIS Arena on February 15.


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