Door opens for Chevannah Paalvast to make an impact
Capitals guard Chevannah Paalvast came to Canberra in search of more minutes and now coach Paul Goriss has issued her with a challenge to make the most of her shot.
The Capitals will look to end a horror run of seven straight losses against the Perth Lynx at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night.
Canberra will be without forward Rachel Jarry for the next month due to concussion – the latest in a string of head knocks that have cruelled the Olympian’s career.
But Jarry’s absence opens a world of opportunity for Paalvast as she looks to establish herself as a star in Capitals colours.
It’s a massive blow to a side flirting with disaster as the Capitals look to snap an ugly losing streak and edge their way back into the finals conversation.
Paalvast has been a regular in the New Zealand line-up for the past two years but her time on the court has been limited since arriving in Canberra.
“She came here wanting an opportunity to be able to play more and test herself as a main rotation player,” Goriss said.
“That’s what I’ve said to her, now the opportunity is there for her to step in and do that now. I have full faith in her, she’s a great athlete, she’s a great defender.
“We need her to be more aggressive looking to score because she can. But she’s known for her defence, her aggressiveness and her rebounding.
“We’ve got to utilise that to the best of our ability and play to our players’ strengths.”
Goriss says he has “underplayed” Eziyoda Magbegor but the teen sensation is now in line to play more minutes, while Jordan Hooper will be asked to take on a different role against the Lynx.
Canberra’s senior players will rally around Paalvast and Magbegor as they prepare to fill the void left by the n Opals regular in a bid to resurrect their season.
Goriss says it won’t be as simple as one person filling Jarry’s shoes, but the Capitals have been boosted by the inclusion of captain Natalie Hurst.
Hurst only returned to training on Thursday having battled a middle ear infection and while the flight “was not great for her”, she’ll suit up against Perth.
“We need her leadership and experience on the floor. With Rachel out we just miss a bit of that experience,” Goriss said.
“We need [Hursts’ assists] but we need her to score a little bit more too. Having her will definitely help..”
Meanwhile, Capitals development player Callie Bourne will make the move to the United States after signing with division one college Idaho State University for the 2018-19 season.
Bourne has been training and travelling with the Capitals throughout their WNBL campaign and is set to play a starring role for the ACT’s first under 20s women’s team during February’s national tournament.
It will be a precursor to Bourne’s leap to college basketball as she prepares to join the Bengals in Autumn next year.
WNBL ROUND SIX
Saturday: Perth Lynx v Canberra Capitals at Bendat Basketball Centre, 6.30pm.