Canberra Capitals star Kelsey Griffin says it's crucial they clinch home-court advantage for finals and it could be secured by taking down reigning champions Townsville Fire on Friday.
Griffin is the red-hot favourite to be named the WNBL's most valuable player this season but said her focus is on delivering Canberra its first title in nine years.
Canberra’s Kelsey Griffin will almost certainly win the WNBL MVP this season. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong
The Capitals are top of the ladder following six straight wins but with only three regular season games left, they won't play at home again unless it's finals.
If Perth and Adelaide lose on Thursday night then a victory against Townsville will ensure the Capitals host their first postseason game in eight years.
Canberra's three remaining games are against teams who won't be playing finals but Griffin said there's no room for complacency this close to the play-offs.
"Playing for a home court now is super important, we love playing at home and in front of our fans, so we’re definitely motivated to lock that in," Griffin said.
"It’s always dangerous playing teams that haven't made finals because they have nothing to lose, so we have to prepare like these three games are finals.
"It's been a while since I’ve been on a team that’s top of the ladder so I’m just happy that all the hard work we’ve put in from preseason to now is showing.
Kelsey Griffin leads the league in points and rebounds. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong
"But we can’t take it for granted, it’s something that can be taken from us if we don't protect it so that’s what these next three games are about.
"What’s so exciting about this group is we want to work hard, we want to do the tough things. It’s nice as the captain going into games not ever having to question my teammates' effort."
Griffin is leading the league in points per game (19.78) and rebounds (11.33), while she has three teammates also topping the statistics. Kelly Wilson leads the assists (6.11), Leilani Mitchell in steals (2.06) and Marianna Tolo is the top blocker (2).
Griffin, 31, was named in a record-equalling ninth WNBL team of the week on Tuesday and is near-certainly to win the MVP this season.
"I’m just happy to be a part of this group, individual accolades are an honour and humbling and to be talked about is very nice but I play a team sport and there’s a reason I'm able to do what I do on the court," Griffin said.
"It's because of my teammates around me and the coaching staff playing to my strengths, being in a system that supports my style of play.
"I’m not passing it to myself, I’m not taking it from coast to coast, my teammates set me up and I’m just doing my role on the team.
"Most importantly I'm really enjoying myself, that's been the best thing about this season, just how much fun I'm having playing with this group of people."
Capitals coach Paul Goriss signed Griffin before anyone else this season and said his marquee player has delivered exactly what he expected.
"If Kelsey gets [MVP] it's deservedly so, she’s had a tremendous season and the people around her have got her the ball in the right positions," Goriss said.
"She's come back this season in great physical shape. She's a competitor and we knew what we were getting when we recruited her, but she's probably in the best form of her career.
"If it happens that'd be really nice but our goal is as a team as well. There are still things we can get better at and next three games are very important in trying to secure top spot."
WNBL ROUND 14
Friday: Townsville Fire v Canberra Capitals at Townsville Stadium, 8pm.
Sunday: Sydney Flames v Canberra Capitals at Sydney Super Dome, 12pm.
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