Capitals left to rue another fade out against Bendigo

Once again it was a "tale of three quarters" as the Canberra Capitals slumped to their 10th consecutive loss.

The Capitals shot out of the blocks but were overrun in a heartbreaking 83-80 defeat to the Bendigo Spirit at State Basketball Centre on Saturday.

A spirited comeback saw Bendigo climb off the bottom of the WNBL ladder in game that went within a whisker of going to overtime.

Capitals centre Mistie Bass had three free throw attempts with 2.8 seconds left and would have tied the game up if she hit all three - she hit two, and Bendigo scored two of their own to clinch the win.

Eziyoda Magbegor was a shining light in a Capitals outfit missing guard Abbey Wehrung due to an ankle injury and Rachel Jarry [concussion].

Magbegor scored a team-high 16 points and is beginning to grow into the player many anticipate she will become, reaping the rewards of extra minutes.

"At the start of the season I wasn't playing her enough and I've just got to let her be her and give her more confidence to be able to play more," Capitals coach Paul Goriss said.

"I think she can really contribute to our team, and she's shown that in the last three or four weeks."

Goriss suggested the Capitals need to adopt a killer instinct when the game is on the line after surrendering a sizeable early lead.

"I think the belief, trust and camaraderie is still there," Goriss said.

"No one is second guessing themselves, the belief is there but it's just getting over that hump and we've got to find a way to close out some games. In the fourth quarter we just seemed to dry up.

"That's consistency for us, we've got to be able to put our foot on people's throats when we make a run and we didn't do that."

Canberra looked a shadow of the side that had lost nine games on the run early, rather looking every bit of the world beaters they were in round one as they took a 10-point lead into quarter time.

Captain Nat Hurst was putting on an early clinic and her understudy Maddison Rocci brought plenty of energy to the court.

The Capitals held the edge following a frantic first half as Hurst took her open looks and fired off six assists and seven rebounds.

Canberra held a slender two-point lead heading into the final quarter but all the momentum was with the Spirit when the two sides returned to the court.

Hurst says the Capitals "don't think on the fly very well at this stage and that's something we need to work on" when things begin to unravel.

A Hurst three-pointer threatened to turn the game on its head but Canberra's shooting radar went into meltdown inside the final minute.

Kate Gaze attempted a late three to put her side in the lead but the shot went awry, and Nadine Payne made the most of her shot to steal an advantage the Spirit wouldn't give up.


WNBL: BENDIGO SPIRIT 83 (Betnijah Laney 23, Nadine Payne 18, Gabrielle Richards (15) bt CANBERRA CAPITALS 80 (Eziyoda Magbegor 16, Nat Hurst 13, Mistie Bass 12) at State Basketball Centre.

This story Capitals left to rue another fade out against Bendigo first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.