Capitals close in on WNBL crown

The Canberra Capitals are one win away from claiming the WNBL championship after an 88-67 victory over the Adelaide Lightning.

The Capitals overcame a fast start from the Lightning to strike the first blow in the best-of-three grand final series at AIS Arena on Saturday.

Adelaide started promisingly by jumping out to an early 12-point lead but Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo powered the Capitals to a 30-13 second term to wrest control away from the visitors.

A two-time WNBL champion and grand final MVP with the Bendigo Spirit, Griffin inspired Canberra's first-half fightback on her way to a 22 point, 12 rebound performance.

All five starters finished in double figures, Kia Nurse leading all scorers with 23 (5-of-10 three-pointers) with Tolo adding 14 as the Capitals extended their winning streak to 12 games.

"The last time we played in Adelaide, we lost by a lot," Tolo told Fox Sports as the Capitals look ahead to game two in Adelaide on Wednesday night.

"They'll have that home-court advantage and they'll be looking to attack and shooting their shots.

"It's all about defence for us, we've got to lock it down from the start".

Lauren Nicholson stood out for the visitors with 21 points while Nia Coffey 15 points and 11 rebounds.

"I think we let ourselves down defensively today," admitted Adelaide captain Nicole Seekamp.

"Going into the second game, we've got to be able to handle their momentum swings then hopefully ride the wave and stay on top."

The Lightning opened with the first eight points of the match then extended their advantage to 16-4 with Seekamp finishing off a three-point play.

The Capitals started to click on offence but Coffey ensured the visitors closed the quarter ahead 25-18.

After being held scoreless in the opening term, Griffin kick-started Canberra's revival with a 12-point burst before Leilani Mitchell levelled the scores from the foul line midway through the second quarter.

Nicholson did her best to keep the Lightning on top but key baskets from Tolo handed Canberra their first lead with Nurse and Mitchell nailing consecutive triples to send them into halftime up 48-38.

Griffin kept the points coming in the third quarter and Nurse added two more three-pointers as the lead grew to 16.

Aimee Clydesdale's half-court heave on the buzzer gave Adelaide hope heading into the final quarter but the home side finished strong thanks to the long-range shooting of Nurse and veteran guard Kelly Wilson.