Tag: usc rip city

WNBL Player Spotlight – Canberra Capitals – Maddison Rocci

QUICKLY becoming one of the Women’s National Basketball League’s (WNBL) most prominent guards, Maddison Rocci earned her stripes last season and now looks to develop even further with the Capitals in WNBL21, as she once again eyes up a starting five spot.

Rocci was one of the six members to be re-signed during Canberra’s signing blitz, where head coach Paul Goriss solidified his core group from last season’s title-winning season (excluding imports) in the space of a few days during the Free Agency signing period, and the former Victorian was more than happy to re-join the cast of last season.

“The thing that motivated me to come back to the Caps again was the team that Paul was putting together and the people that were returning from last season,” Rocci said. “I have also developed so much being at the Caps under Paul, so I’m ready to take the next step and improve my game even more.”

Maintaining nine points, 2.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game whilst shooting an impressive 40 per cent from the field, Goriss would deem it suitable to gradually increase Rocci’s output regarding court time over the course of WNBL20. Playing below 30 minutes per game to open up the first few outings of last season, Rocci soon received regular 30-plus minute stints throughout the rest of her 2019/20 journey.

After a stellar season and the second WNBL title of her career to this point, it seemed the 22-year-old could not have a better year. That was until mid-June, where Rocci received her first nomination to the Australian Opals Squad, a feat she could not believe at first. “I got an email from Sandy about being named in the Opals squad and to be honest I had to look at it a couple of times and re-read it to make sure it was right. I was honestly lost for words,” Rocci said.

“It’s been such a big dream of mine to be named in the Opals squad, so it was a very special and proud moment,” she added.

Goriss’ assessment of Rocci last season was a positive one, outlining the level of consistency and dedication that the young gun displayed over that time. But like fellow guard, Tahlia Tupaea, Goriss wants to see more of an increased role with the Caps for the upcoming fixture and sees Rocci’s recent performances in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) with the Sunshine Coast Rip City as a good testing ground for that purpose.

“It’s really important because she does have a specific role with us at the Capitals, but being able to step away from that and become a go-to player that’s going to handle the ball, that’s going to take on scoring responsibilities and have leadership within the group is really important,” Goriss said in an interview with Draft Central. “I’m hoping she brings that [experience] back for pre-season with the Caps, as it is a great learning curve to have to take on those extra responsibilities,” he noted.

Rocci currently leads the QBL in points maintaining a massive 34.8 points per game, while also sitting third across the competition in rebounds, averaging 11.3. Rocci also leads the league in free throws made with 44 and is second in total three-pointers made with 25. With numbers like this, Rocci looks to be one of the WNBL’s biggest improvers if she maintains this level of form.

QSL Women’s Round 5 preview: Rip City travel to Red City in ladder-defining game

USC Rip City will hit the road to face RedCity Roar in our Round 5 Queensland State League (QSL) match of the round this weekend. The Roar sit in eighth with two wins from four games, but a game in hand prior to their clash with the 3-2 fifth placed USC Rip City. A win for USC would see it keep in touch with the top four, whilst a loss could catapult them back amongst the pack. For the Roar, a win will likely see them leapfrog a couple of teams and join USC on three wins, while a loss will likely see them slip into the bottom four.

The Roar have had a pretty rough draw and their form would suggest they are better than their current eighth placed ladder position. They had wins over fourth placed Gold Coast Rollers and sixth placed Northside Wizards, while dropping matches to the top of the table Logan Thunder, and then third placed Southern Districts Spartans last week. Tall Ferns player and former Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) forward Ashleigh Karaitiana and Perth Lynx and Australian Opal, Lauren Mansfield are the two key players for the Roar this year, with Karaitiana averaging 21 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists. She is shooting at 50 per cent from three-point range, dropping 12 triples thus far, as well as 48.4 per cent from inside the arc. Mansfield is averaging 18 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, and has shown some great defensive abilities, picking up six steals against the Spartans.

USC has had an up and down season to start 2020 with three wins from five games, including a crucial victory over second placed Brisbane Capitals – the only side to do so thus far – with expected wins over bottom two sides, South West Metro Pirates and Toowoomba Mountaineers. Their losses have come against an impressive Gold Coast Rollers outfit in Round 1, then a narrow five-point defeat at the hands of Northside Wizards in Round 3. University of Canberra (UC) Capitals young gun and future Opal, Maddison Rocci has been electrifying this season, averaging 32.8 points per game, and only slipping below 30 points once – back in round 1. She is also averaging 11 rebounds, five assists and 2.6 steals in a really balanced all-round game. It is no surprise that three of her five games have also been double-doubles, with Rocci letting loose on the last placed Mountaineers with a triple-double effort of 40 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals. Katherine Ups is the other Roar player to be enjoying some big numbers thus far, averaging 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists from her four games this season.

Looking at other matches across the weekend, another tight game could be that between 10th placed Ipswich Force and the winless Toowoomba Mountaineers. The teams are the two lowest scorers this season, but will be hoping to get a win on the board in the battle of the bottom three sides. South West Metro Pirates are the other bottom three side and they will host the fourth placed Gold Coast Rollers on Sunday.

Meanwhile the top of the table Logan Thunder will host seventh placed Sunshine Coast Phoenix Teal, sixth placed Northside Wizards will look to bounce back against third placed Southern District Spartans, and second placed Brisbane Capitals will aim for yet another win, this time against ninth placed North Gold Coast Seahawks.

Saturday, September 5:

Brisbane Capitals vs. North Gold Coast Seahawks
Ipswich Force vs. Toowoomba Mountaineers
Northside Wizards vs. Southern Districts Spartans
Logan Thunder vs. Sunshine Coast Phoenix Teal
RedCity Roar vs. USC Rip City

Sunday, September 6:

South West Metro Pirates vs. Gold Coast Rollers

Picture: Stephen Schulz Photography