Launceston Tornadoes have suffered the heartache of a dramatic last-shot loss on Saturday evening to hand Canberra Capitals just their third win of SEABL season.
Ishoa-Jade Cook came off the bench during the dying seconds and had the chance to send the game into overtime after the guard was fouled off the final play.
The 33-year-old scored the first of her two free throws but missed with the second to condemn the Torns to a 67-66 defeat in Canberra.
Coach Richard Dickel was philosophical after Lauren Nicholson pounced on a late turnover when still down by two points and just with three seconds left on the clock.
“You place ourselves in this situation to try and win these games,” Dickel said.
“We were right there or thereabouts and it didn’t just quite come off.
“But we’re still better than we were two or three weeks ago and we’re going to continue to get better.”
Launceston had won the first leg in the capital, pulling off a firm seven-point win over Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.
But facing the Capitals’ WNBL academy outfit, the visitors copped their fifth loss this season in 14 outings.
“They might have only won two games, but Marianna Tolo has only played maybe three or four games all season,” Dickel said.
“She’s an Opal, an Olympian and a hell of a player.”
Dickel, coaching in his fifth game since taking over from Ben Rush a month ago, believes his side has a lot of work left to fix nagging issues that came to light in the loss.
“We probably didn’t adjust to what referees were calling early enough and it’s on us to get better at it,” he said.
“While Lauren Nicholson definitely played a great game, we’ve got to get better when teams are ganging up on Tayla offensively and how we can make it easier for her and make it easier for the team. That’s just a time together thing.”
Nicholson proved the standout for a team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Tayla Roberts added 14 points, well down on her 23.8 points average that leads the league this year, while Opal-bound Lauren Mansfield was held to just 11 points.