Lightning beat Capitals in WNBL overtime

Darren Snowdon
·2-min read

The Adelaide Lightning have kicked off the new WNBL season in style by holding on for a gritty 85-73 overtime win over University of Canberra Capitals.

The opening match of a condensed six-week season, to be played in a north Queensland hub, went into an extra period after the two sides could not be split at Mackay Multi-Sports Stadium on Wednesday night.

Scores were tied 70-70 as time expired but the Lightning outscored Canberra 15-3 in overtime to claim victory against the defending champions, Steph Talbot leading the way with 31 points, 13 rebounds, six steals and four blocks.

"That's exactly how we wanted to start, we came out aggressive and we played as a team," guard Alex Wilson said.

A superb third-quarter performance from Wilson inspired the Lightning to a 58-45 lead but a fierce Capitals comeback set up a thrilling conclusion with both teams missing chances to win the game in the final minute of regulation.

"I'm a point guard so I'm looking to get my teammates involved first and foremost ... but I can score for the team as well so I was happy to do that in the third," Wilson said.

The Capitals opened the season with co-captain Kelsey Griffin sidelined with a back issue and Mackay-born Marianna Tolo on a minutes restriction due to a foot injury, while new recruits Tahlia Tupaea and Britt Smart were also unavailable.

Maddi Rocci (21 points, eight rebounds, six assists) and Keely Froling (19 points) led the charge for the Capitals but a late ankle injury to Mikaela Ruef added to the Capitals' woes.

With both sides guilty of committing multiple turnovers, the steady play of Froling and Tolo under the basket ensured the Capitals closed a scrappy opening quarter with a 16-14 advantage.

Talbot began to assert her authority on the contest in the second term but a seven-point burst from Rocci left Canberra poised to take a handy lead into halftime.

But Adelaide scored the final six points of the half to lead 35-34 at the main break then won the third quarter 24-15 with Wilson starring and Chelsea Brook burying a three-pointer to extend Adelaide's lead to 13 points.

But after cutting the margin to 10 leading into the final stanza, the Capitals roared back to hit the front midway through the quarter before going on to force overtime.