Grand Final washup: WNBL – Game 3

IN the third and deciding game, the University of Canberra (UC) Capitals were too strong for Adelaide Lightning to take out the 2018/19 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) premiership. Here’s how the third and final game went down:

UC Capitals (93) defeat Adelaide Lightning (73)

The UC Capitals prevail in game three of the grand final series over Adelaide Lightning, securing their eighth WNBL championship. After forcing a decider with a buzzer beater in game two, Adelaide earned a chance to upset an away crowd in Canberra. Both teams shot well in the opening half as they entered the main break 49-45 – UC’s way. Come the third, UC showed no signs of slowing as Adelaide slipped to 17 points and then 11 in the final period. Capital’s captain, Kelsey Griffin, led from the front with 29-points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Leilani Mitchell (19-points and six assists), Kelly Wilson (16-points, four rebounds and four assists) and Kia Nurse (12-points, five rebounds and three assists) were also important. For the Lightning, their starters mostly underwhelmed. Off the bench, Colleen Planeta scored a team-high 15-points with eight rebounds, closely followed by Aimie Clydesdale who scored 14. This concludes the WNBL season with the UC Capitals prevailing as champions over the Adelaide Lightning.

In case you missed the earlier two games…

GAME 2:

In game two of the finals, Adelaide keep their chances alive with a last-ditch effort to win over UC by one-point. Adelaide scored consistently throughout the four periods, whereas UC had a dip in the third which made the closer a one-point game. The Capitals got off to a strong start, leading 23-19 at the first break, then extended their lead to seven by half-time. While many might have thought the favourites and minor premiers had one hand on the cup, the side that has refused to give in all season put in one last effort at home. The Lightning threw everything at the Capitals in the third term to restrict the visitors to just 12 points, while scoring 18 themselves and cut the deficit to just one point. A final term of 19-17 was enough for the Lightning to secure the win.

It was Adelaide’s Nicole Seekamp who sealed the win with a lay-up as time diminished. The guard led scoring for her side with 19-points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Her teammates, Nia Coffey, Lauren Nicholson and Kayla Alexander were also important. Coffey earned a double-double with 14-points and rebounds, Alexander earned one too with 12-points and 11 rebounds, while Nicholson had 14-points with seven rebounds and two assists. Though the most dominate player for the game was easily UC’s, Kelsey Griffin. The forward picked up 24-points with 23 rebounds across 29 minutes. Her teammates Kia Nurse and Leilani Mitchell also impressed, with Nurse earning 16-points with 10 rebounds and Mitchell with 13-points, six rebounds and nine assists.

GAME 1:

The UC Capitals started the WNBL Grand Final Series off on the right foot with a come-from-behind win over Adelaide Lightning in game one. The minor premiers looked a class above after quarter time to win three of the four quarters and run out 21-point winners. Adelaide burst out of the blocks and scored 25 points to 18 in the opening term to lead by seven at the first change. The second quarter was the complete reversal as the premiership favourites sunk 30 points to 13 to race to a 10-point lead at half-time. The match was closer in the third, but the Capitals still made the most of the term with a 20-18 quarter, before running away with it in the final quarter, scoring 20 goals to 11 for a 88-67 victory.

Kia Nurse starred with 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals in an inspired performance, while Kelsey Griffin was equally as important, sinking 22 points as well as 12 rebounds, three assists and one steal. Three other Capitals made double figures, with Marianna Tolo (14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one steal),Leilani Mitchell(11 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and one steal) and Kelly Wilson (12 points, four rebounds, six assists and one steal) all showing off the depth of the home side’s scoring potential.

For Adelaide, they relied on their two big scorers with Lauren Nicholson sinking 21 points to go with her four rebounds and one assist, while young gun, Nia Coffey starred with 15 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and three blocks.Kayla Alexander (seven points at 75 per cent scoring efficiency, and seven rebounds) and Sara Blicavs (seven points, three rebounds and two assists) were others who did their best for the Lightning but it would not be enough.

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