For the sixth time in her remarkable career, Lauren Jackson has helped her team to a WNBL championship. Saturday’s 75-70 Canberra TransAct Capitals win over the Bulleen Boomers, however, was very much a team effort. Though Jackson won Grand Final MVP honors, teammates Natalie Hurst and Marianna Tolo were at least equally valuable as the Capitals rallied on the road from an eight-point deficit and a 68-62 disadvantage early in the fourth quarter.
A Carly Wilson three-pointer gave Canberra its first lead of the fourth quarter, and moments later Abby Bishop answered Liz Cambage’s score with another three that gave the Capitals the lead for good. They would hold Bulleen scoreless over the final 2:47, getting a free throw from Bishop at the 1:55 mark to extend the lead to three. A pair of Jackson free throws with four seconds left sealed the game and provided the final margin.
Jackson finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 7-of-23 from the field. Hurst scored a team-high 21 points and Tolo shut down Cambage down the stretch, blocking six shots. Bishop also had a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards. The Boomers’ Jenna O’Hea was the game’s high scorer with 26 points, knocking down four triples, grabbing seven rebounds and handing out five assists. Cambage had 16 points and 11 rebounds but was limited to 6-of-17 shooting.
“Since the last Bulleen game everyone has played an equal part in winning,” Jackson told the Sydney Morning Herald, ”and tonight, everybody did. They could play anywhere in the world.”
Five of Jackson’s six WNBL championships have been won for Canberra, and the Capitals won their seventh as a franchise, tops among all teams. Head Coach Carrie Graf also won her seventh WNBL championship.