Bevilaqua Named Grand Final MVP
Game Story - Reprinted from Sydney Morning Herald (Feb. 17)
The Canberra Capitals claimed their fifth WNBL championship at Penrith Stadium [Saturday], ruining the farewell of Sydney University Flames and Opals legend Trish Fallon.
In a tense and hard-fought decider, the Capitals led by a point at quarter-time, the scores were locked at half-time and the Capitals held a five-point lead at the final break.
The Flames had the better of the early moments of the final quarter, before a remarkable 15-point unanswered spree midway buried the minor premiers, giving the Capitals a courageous 73-59 away-from-home win.
It was the first championship win for the Capitals without the great Lauren Jackson.
Thirty-four-year-old grand final MVP, Tully Bevilaqua - with 12 points, five steals and six assists - said the win was a great response to those who thought the team couldn't win without Jackson.
"I think there were some who thought we could do it but weren't confident we could," Bevilaqua said.
"But we knew as a group that we had the talent, the chemistry and we've got a special bond."
Bevilaqua also paid tribute to coach Carrie Graf.
"I think I can speak for my teammates when I say that Graffy is the heart and soul of the Caps," she said.
Fallon, meanwhile, said she had mixed feelings.
"Obviously I'm a bit sad," she said. "It would have been nice for the girls to go out with a win, not for me, but for the team. On the other side, it's a bit of a relief. I'm looking forward to retiring. I'm ready to hang up the boots and I'm looking forward to the next stage of my life."
The early stages of the game were physical and the Capitals had the better of play. But Fallon kept the Flames in touch, restricting the Capitals' lead to 20-19 at the end of an intense opening quarter. Alicia Poto then dominated the second quarter for the Flames.