Caps trio hope golden sparkle continues in WNBL season

(from left) University of Canberra Capitals?????? players Keely Froling, Abbey Wehrung and Lauren Scherf have returned home after helping the Emerging Opals win gold at the World University Games in Taipei. Photo by Karleen Minney.
(from left) University of Canberra Capitals?????? players Keely Froling, Abbey Wehrung and Lauren Scherf have returned home after helping the Emerging Opals win gold at the World University Games in Taipei. Photo by Karleen Minney.

A trio of Canberra Capitals rising stars hope a taste of international success can help propel them towards their goal of playing for the Australian Opals.

But junior teammates Abbey Wehrung, Lauren Scherf and Keely Froling will put WNBL domination first as they set their sights ending Canberra's seven-year finals drought this season.

A new-look Capitals roster took the first steps on their WNBL mission when they returned to training on Monday night.

Wehrung, Scherf and Froling added a golden sparkle to the first session of the season after helping Australia win gold at the world university games in Taipei last week.

It was the first step to their hopes of playing for the Opals in the coming years and the WNBL will give them a perfect opportunity to launch their bid for national selection.

The Capitals have five players who are 21 years old or younger, and Wehrung, Scherf and Froling have been playing together since joining forces for the Australian under-17s team four years ago.

"Any time you play for Australia is a step towards [the Opals], that's always the main goal," Scherf said.

"Being young has its advantages. We [the Capitals] may not have much experience, but we're young, energetic and love to play basketball.

"Having fast guards and being able to work off each other's energy is really going to rub off on the team."

Wehrung and Froling are University of Canberra students, while Scherf has just moved to the capital after starting her career in Melbourne.

Capitals coach Paul Goriss will lean on their international experience and talent to help Canberra force its way back into championship contention for the first time since 2011.

Wehrung had a breakout season last year, but her campaign was cut short by a cruel ankle injury.

The 21-year-old guard will work with seven-time championship winner Nat Hurst to take her game to a new level this season.

"Coming off my injury, it was nice to know my body can get through [playing] again and I played a fair bit [at the world university games]," Wehrung said.

"Gold medals are pretty rare ... so I think we're going to bring a lot of confidence back after the tournament.

"I felt pretty rusty in my first few games back but I think I got back into it pretty quickly. I've set a few goals, but it's a process, I'll take my role as it comes but I will try to lead."

The Capitals will play their first pre-season match against the Fujitsu Red Wave on September 15 before setting their sights on a clash against the Bendigo Spirit at the National Convention Centre on October 6.

United States recruits Mistie Bass and Jordan Hooper are expected to arrive in Canberra in the coming weeks to bolster the squad, while former captain Marianna Tolo is training with the team before starting her stint in Europe.

Froling enjoyed an impressive SEABL season with the Capitals Academy, and is hoping that form transfers to her push for more WNBL game time.

"It was a massive confidence booster knowing you can play in that sort of environment at the [world university games]," Froling said.

"Even in the lead up to the season, it helped getting some games under my belt. I think we're going to get things together pretty quickly with the Capitals, it's a good group.

"I've been working really hard in the off-season, so hopefully I can get some more minutes this year and just play my game."

CANBERRA CAPITALS WNBL DRAW

October 6: Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

October 8: Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre, 3pm

October 13: Townsville Fire v Capitals at Townsville, 7pm.

October 15: Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

October 22: Capitals v Dandenong Rangers at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

October 25: Adelaide Lightning v Capitals at Adelaide, 7pm.

October 27: Capitals v Townsville Fire at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

November 2: Sydney Flames v Capitals at Sydney, 7pm.

November 4: Capitals v Sydney Flames at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

November 11: Perth Lynx v Capitals at Perth, 9.30pm.

November 18: Melbourne Boomers v Capitals at Melbourne, 3pm.

November 25: Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at Melbourne, 5pm.

November 30: Perth Lynx v Capitals at Perth, 9.30pm.

December 2: Melbourne Boomers v Capitals at Melbourne, 7.30pm.

December 7: Capitals v Sydney Flames at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

December 9: Dandenong Rangers v Capitals at Dandenong, 7pm.

December 14: Bendigo Spirit v Capitals at Bendigo, 7pm.

December 17: Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

December 21: Capitals v Townsville at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

December 23: Dandenong Rangers v Capitals at Dandenong, 6.30pm.

December 29: Capitals v Perth Lynx at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

This story Caps trio hope golden sparkle continues in WNBL season first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.