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Omens favour a Light rebuttal

IT'S February 13, the Canberra Capitals are chasing their 13th straight WNBL win and their last loss was in Adelaide to Lightning. If superstition or omens are worth anything, they definitely favour Adelaide tying the best-of-three Grand Final Series 1-1 tonight.

The truth is, of course, once that ball is tossed in the air to tip off Game 2, omens, superstitions or past reflections don't count for anything and Lightning will be in a dogfight to send this series back to Canberra on Saturday for a decider.

The Capitals boast a starting quintet as good as any we have seen this century, championship winners Kelly Wilson and Leilani Mitchell in the backcourt, Canadian WNBA superstar Kia Nurse ready to blow teams off the floor, MVP favourite Kelsey Griffin a multiple threat and Opals centre Marianna Tolo keen to add to the championship she won with the Caps in 2010.

Of course, with a team this good, the expectations are rightly high. But they are not under great pressure because even a loss tonight would see them head home for the decider.

They won Game 1 in Canberra 88-67 after weathering Lightning's best early shot, including a 12-point deficit during the first quarter.

Effectively, the Caps are at Adelaide casino playing with the house money tonight.

That in itself presents a big challenge for Adelaide which is in the backs-to-the-wall scenario of "must win" or it is done and dusted.

In Lightning's favour is the knowledge it twice beat Canberra in Adelaide during the regular season and its last win over the Caps, by 20, was the visitors' most recent loss.

Adelaide also knows it can play far better than it showed in Canberra, where only Lauren Nicholson and to a lesser extent, Nia Coffey, played as they normally do.

Whether it was the occasion, the 4,120-strong crowd, the whole hype of it all, Adelaide barely resembled itself after the first quarter.

Canberra is an experienced super team and it immediately seized on Adelaide's signs of faltering to virtually end the contest with a 30-13 second period.

Nurse, Mitchell, Wilson were devastating from outside while Griffin, Tolo and Keeley Froling owned the paint.

Adelaide had Nicole Seekamp, Stephanie Blicavs - in her landmark 300th WNBL game - and Kayla Alexander unable to reproduce their best and paid the price.

Whether a huge expected crowd tonight at The Lighthouse - Titanium Security Arena - can bring that extra "oomph" Adelaide needs remains to be seen, but as the Caps showed on Saturday, it can't hurt.

Its record against the Caps in Adelaide this season also makes it a worthwhile gamble to believe Adelaide can make this 1-1.

But then, the Capitals are playing with the house money and can afford to be relaxed. And that spells danger.

Tip-off for Game 2 is 630pm and the match is live on FOX.

Feb 13

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.