The ‘Laser Electrical Carrum Downs‘ Blues women hosted the Canberra Capitals Academy on Saturday night searching for their first win of the 2018 SEABL season. Despite a 29 point haul from Stacey Barr, the Blues ran out of legs and players in the final term, overrun 67-77 to close out a tough Round 4.
Star import Tocarra Ross (4 points and 6 rebound) went down with an ankle injury early in the second quarter, yet the scoring of Barr, Shannon Perrett (11 points) and Milica Ivanov (11 points) kept them in front by 3 heading into the final quarter. Lana Hollingsworth picked up her 5th foul early on, and when Captain Sammie Simmons was forced to the bench not long after with a knee injury, the Blues simply ran out of players as Canberra finished strongly to register a 10 point win.
The Blues opened the contest strongly behind great team play and cohesion. While Ross was making an impact defensively, the Blues were spreading the scoring load. Former Blues player Kate Gaze was clearly motivated, almost playing a lone hand to keep her side in touch, with the home town Blues up by 4 points at the first break.
After Ross’ injury early in the second, it looked like the Blues had started to drop their heads. Yet while the quarter belonged to the Capitals Academy, who took a 1 point lead into half time, it was Barr that provided the spark and a renewed belief.
The third quarter became a shootout between Gaze and Barr, with both players trading shots as their teams jostled for the lead. Nothing separated either side heading into the final quarter apart from a 3 margin in favour of the Blues who has stolen back ascendancy.
Gaze continued to be on target from mid-range for Canberra, and when Abby Cubillo and later Caitlin Ryan drained big triples, it was the visitors who had wrestled control of the game. Hollingsworth fouled out, and then Simmons followed her to the bench with her knee injury soon after. When Ryan connected again from distance late, it would seal the Blues fate.
After sustaining a concussion late in the round 3 loss to the Spectres that forced her to miss the ANZAC Day game against the Rangers, Barr was terrific in her return. The combative guard finishing with a game-high 29 points, including 10-12 from the free throw line. While she received solid support from Perrett and Ivanov, Emma Nankervis shot just 2-12 from the field, Hollingsworth added just 4 points before fouling out in less than 18 minutes, and Ross missed the last 2 quarters of the game that all conspired against the Blues.
Shooting just 32.8% from the field compared to the Capitals Academy mark of 42.6%, Frankston were dominated on the boards, giving up 50 rebounds to their 35. Gaze was the star for Canberra, pouring in a team-best 26 points with 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in playing the full 40 minutes. Cubillo chimed in with 14 points and 3 assists in running the point, while Rowe added 8 points and Montgomery 8 points with 12 rebounds.
The going does not get any easier for the Blues, hosting the Sydney Uni Sparks (3-2) this coming Saturday and with the possibility that both Simmons and Ross will both be missing. Blues fans will be hoping that both players will be suiting up for the game that tips off at 6:30pm.