Magbegor sparkles as Capitals start pre-season in style

The Canberra Capitals have played just one pre-season game but that's all Eziyoda Magbegor needed to prove why she's been dubbed the next Lauren Jackson.

The teenage sensation sparkled with 19 points and 12 rebounds in Canberra's thrilling 75-73 win over the Fujitsu Red Wave at Belconnen Basketball Stadium on Friday night.

Capitals coach Paul Goriss labelled Magbegor "an absolute freak" in her first outing for Canberra, as the 17-year-old showed everyone why she's widely regarded as a future Opal.

"The younger kids were great, Ezi and Maddi Rocci were great so we've got a good mix of the veteran leadership, talent and grunt, and the energetic youngsters," Goriss said.

"It was just [a chance to see] how the younger kids played together, mixing the veterans with the younger kids, having a look at us with different line-ups, going big, going smaller, defensively changing some things up too.

"It was more about the process of going through what we need to do and learning from that leading into the season."

The Capitals got off to a flying start and ran out to a 27-point lead before the Japanese outfit clawed their way back into the contest.

Goriss was rapt with the result given stars Kate Gaze, Jordan Hooper and Rachel Jarry were out of action - now he hopes they can turn winning into a habit against the reigning champions.

The Capitals are set for a trek up the Hume Highway to face the Sydney University Flames next Saturday.

The reigning champions boast an almost identical line-up to the one that claimed last season's title while the Capitals are an almost entirely new group.

"For us as a new group being together and playing a group that's played together for a whole season and won a championship, it's going to be a great challenge for us going to their home court," Goriss said.

"They've lost Leilani Mitchell, which is always a huge piece - like us, when you lose your point guard and an Olympian. They've lost Leilani but they've picked up Katie Ray Ebzery who has come back from Europe.

"That's a pretty good swap for them, and all the rest of their team is the same. Same two imports, same players off a championship-winning team.

"When you can keep a championship-winning team, and they've got a formula for success playing together, they're going to be pretty tough as well."



This story Magbegor sparkles as Capitals start pre-season in style first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.