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Lightning-Caps: Bit like having to win it twice

GAME 2 of the 2018-19 WNBL Grand Final Series between Adelaide and Canberra finished with Lightning winning controversially on the bell and Caps star Kelsey Griffin after winning the decider claiming her team "had to win it twice."

Lightning tonight could feel exactly the same after Steph Talbot hit a big 3-pointer with 1.0 seconds left to give the home team a 62-61 win at Titanium Security Arena.

Having trailed for more than three-quarters of an ugly game that never reached any great heights, it was a monster basket that brought the fans out of their seats and to a full roar.

But despite the refs signalling Talbot's shot as a three, referee James Grigoul went to the bench to determine that the shot was in fact a two, Talbot allegedly with her pinky toe on the line.

Big screen replays were inconclusive, a certain angle appearing to have the shot as a clean three - that's the one which riled the crowd - and another not so decisive.

Regardless, Grigoul rules, OK?

It was time for a five-minute extension and the crowd was not happy about it, suddenly finding a loud supportive voice which had been fairly subdued while suffering through arguably the ugliest home game of the season.

After all, Adelaide shot at a hideous 32.4 percent, with 5-of-19 threes and had 20 turnovers in regulation. Canberra was equally odious, shooting 34.2 percent with 3-of-20 threes and 15 turnovers.

Certainly, Adelaide's maximum temperature of 40 degrees today and 25 percent humidity did little to assist, with players and balls slipping on numerous occasions and both teams extending great energy for precious little in the way of positive returns.

PAR FOR THE COURSE: Conditions inside and outside the venue impacted on the standard.

Canberra jumped out to an 8-0 lead, then built that to 15-2 after Nicole Seekamp finally scored, ripping away a defensive rebound under Lightning's basket to break the drought at 6:30 in the first.

Dragging that deficit back to 16-21 by the first break, Adelaide again struggled as Canberra - with Marianna Tolo (22 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks) a big keyway presence and Kia Nurse (16 points, five assists) ever-present - rebuilt its lead to double-figures at 28-18.

A 7-0 run brought Lightning back into the game but the Caps still took a 34-27 lead into halftime, aided by a pair of dreadful late turnovers. Only Adelaide's tenacious defensive efforts kept the visitors from seizing a match-winning buffer.

Brianna Turner was 0-of-7 at halftime and 0-of-9 going into the final quarter, Adelaide desperate for someone to step up and join Talbot (21 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks) offensively.

Lauren Nichsolson (15 points) and Chelsea Brook, in off the bench, put up their hands and suddenly there was an offensive payoff for all the work being done at the defensive end.

Brook brought the fans to life when her 3-pointer gave Adelaide its first lead at 38-36 in an 11-0 run after the Caps scored the third quarter's opening bucket.

The lead built to 44-40 before Nurse beat the clock with a super triple to close the third.

Tolo and Olivia Epoupa with her first points of the game - she would score seven in the last - helped pull Canberra 61-55 clear and it looked like curtains.

STOOD TALL: Steph Talbot led the way to victory with 21 points, 16 rebounds and four assists.

But Adelaide finished strongly, down 59-61 when Talbot missed a 3-point attempt. The offensive rebound secured, the ball was whipped back to her and with her second, she made no mistake.

(Even though it was reduced to a two and an overtime conclusion after Nurse missed a shot for the win.)

Now in the extension, it was Adelaide on an 8-0 start (14-0 going back into regulation) before Canberra took advantage for a quick four points, two of them after a missed foot violation.

But Adelaide was not losing from here. There's only so many times you should have to win a game, right?

TRIPLE TREAT: Everyone thought Steph Talbot hit the three for the win. Everyone was wrong. 

IN Melbourne, the Boomers contained Townsville Fire starters Darcee Garbin and import Bridget Carleton to three and five points respectively to build a comfortable 77-61 home win.

Missing injured starter Sophie Cunningham, Cayla George (pictured below) produced a season-best 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting for the Boomers, and Stella Beck added 14.

Kalani Purcell led Melbourne with nine boards and six assists as it built a 22-point lead, and enjoyed a 13-0 run.

SA Country duo Abby Bishop and Tess Madgen led the Fire with 19 and 13 points respectively, Townsville needing to bounce back tomorrow in Bendigo.

ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 78 (Talbot 21, Nicholson 15, Brook 14, Turner 11; Talbot 16 rebs; Seekamp 9 assts) d UNI of CANBERRA CAPITALS 68 (Tolo 22, Nurse 16; Epoupa, Tolo 12 rebs; Nurse 5 assts) in overtime {61-61} at The Lighthouse, Titanium Security Arena.
DEAKIN MELBOURNE BOOMERS 77 (George 27, Beck 14, Allen 10; Purcell, Magbegor 9 rebs; Purcell 6 assts) d JCU TOWNSVILLE FIRE 61 (Bishop 19, Madgen 13, Vanloo 10; Garbin 7 rebs; Madsgen 4 assts) at The Boomerang, State Basketball Centre.

Dec 27

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