The Canberra TransACT Capitals continued to press their claims to be WNBL title favourites after they cruised to a 20-point victory over the BDS Logan Thunder on Saturday night.
Despite being sloppy at times, the Capitals controlled the majority of the match and recorded their seventh consecutive victory with the 82-62 win.
The performance was made even more impressive by the fact superstar Lauren Jackson was struck down with pre-game illness.
Jackson suffered from migraines and was vomiting just hours before tip-off, but it wasn’t enough to end her league domination.
While the humble forward shrugged off her illness at the end of the match, Canberra coach Carrie Graf heaped praise on her star.
“Loz was sick all day, she’s been vomiting and had a migraine,” Graf said.
“She comes out and she has a lazy 25 points in 23 minutes and gets 13 boards, she’s pretty bloody good.
“She would say if she needed more time on the bench, she said she wanted to run it out and she has to be ready for finals.”
The defending WNBL champions set a blistering pace to open the game and they streaked to an early lead before Logan could get a shot on target.
Jackson showed some signs of rust, missing some shots she would normally make with ease.
But while the Capitals easily outmuscled and outscored Logan, their much-improved rebounding effort was the most impressive statistic.
Canberra grabbed 23 offensive rebounds to Logan’s six and won the overall count 63-37.
It’s the aspect of the Capitals’ game they need to fine tune most if they want to remain title favourites.
Graf conceded the performance wasn’t perfect, but she said her team had shown enough improvement to be considered a grand-final threat.
“There are lapses in concentration when people get fatigued,” Graf said.
“That was good for us, we want a contest because easy doesn’t prepare us for the finals.”
After a slow start, the Thunder fought back into the match and forced the Capitals into making simple errors.
It got within one point before Perera hit a long-range buzzer-beater to give the Capitals a five-point buffer at the first break.
From there Canberra took control of the game and was rarely troubled.
However, Logan never stopped charging within striking distance and threatened to blow the match open.
Out of the race to the finals, Logan coach Jason Chainey admitted Canberra had too much firepower for his team.
But with two rounds left in the season, Chainey was content with Logan’s determination.
“They go about 35 players deep … I’m really proud of the girls,” Chainey said.
“At one stage it got out to 18 and we got it back to 11 and you could see Carrie getting frustrated with that.
“We’re showing good patches, we’re up and down and we’ll continue to build and get better for next year.”
Bianca Abbott top scored for Logan with 18 points while Kristen Veal was at her dynamic best with 13 points and three assists.
AT A GLANCE
CANBERRA TRANSACT CAPITALS 82 (Lauren Jackson 25, Chantella Perera 15, Abby Bishop 10, Marianna Tolo 10) bt
BDS LOGAN THUNDER 62 (Bianca Abbott 18, Kristen Veal 13, Natalie Purcell 11)
By Chris Dutton for The Canberra Times
Photos courtesy of Bob Cooper Photography Canberra