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WNBL 2014/15 Season Preview: University of Canberra Capitals
The 2014/15 WNBL season is right around the corner and The Pick and Roll team will be previewing each team for the next two weeks. Next up, the University of Canberra Capitals.
2013/14 Record: 10-14 (7th)
Canberra struggled in 2013/14, winning just 10 games and finishing four games out of finals contention. However the Capitals produced much better form as the season wound down, winning five of their last seven games and being much more competitive with the top sides. The form of the evergreen Jess Bibby was, as always, a barometer for her side, with the stalwart in particular setting Melbourne alight from the field as the Capitals knocked off the Boomers away from home late in the season. Canberra relied heavily on the likes of Bibby, Abbey Bishop and Nat Hurst but will be looking to build on their impressive late season form in 2014/15.
Who’s New: Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm, WNBA), Kristen Veal (Logan Thunder), Michelle Cosier (pregnancy), Hannah Zavecz (Logan Thunder), Stephanie Talbot (Adelaide Lightning), Abbey Wehrung (Ballarat Rush, SEABL)
You Won’t See: Natalie Hurst (Canik BLD, Turkey), Alex Bunton (Adelaide Lightning), Carley Mijovic (Adelaide Lightning)
Back Again: Jess Bibby, Abby Bishop, Carly Wilson, Alice Coddington, Sarah McAppion, Tara Hay
Coaching Staff: Carrie Graf (Head Coach), Brendan Parnell (Assistant Coach)
Kristen Veal #119984318 / gettyimages.com The former Opals guard will play a pivotal role for the Capitals this season after the loss of Nat Hurst over the off-season, while the return of veteran Michelle Cosier to action after a pregnancy hiatus will be delayed due to an injury that is expected to keep her out of action for a few weeks of the season. Veal is a proven performer and brings a wealth of experience and talent to the Capitals, but will shoulder plenty of the play-making load early on in the campaign. With a number of stellar point guards playing in the WNBL in season 2014/15, it is a spot that no team can afford to be weak in, and while Veal is by no means a weak link, it simply means her performances will have much greater ramifications on what her team can achieve.
The Capitals will enter 2014/15 very much as an unknown quantity, with the departure of Nat Hurst leaving a gaping hole at the point but the addition of Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson sure to provide plenty of punch at either end of the floor. Building on their disappointing season in 2013/14 won’t be hard for the newly named University of Canberra, particularly if superstar Jackson manages to stay fit for the duration of the season. A finals berth is certainly what the Capitals will be setting their sights on, and the additions of Kristen Veal and Hannah Zavecz from the defunct Logan Thunder, alongside Jackson, will certainly put them in the mix. A strong start is a necessity for the Capitals after their poor start cost them any chance of a finals berth last season, but with Jackson coming off limited preparation due to injury they may need to rely on another second-half surge to see a return to the playoffs.