WNBL: 'Sky is the limit' for Canberra Capitals star Kia Nurse

The UC Capitals host the WNBL season opener with a grand final rematch against the Adelaide Lightning!
Capitals Kia Nurse.
Picture: Jamila Toderas
The UC Capitals host the WNBL season opener with a grand final rematch against the Adelaide Lightning! Capitals Kia Nurse. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Kia Nurse still has to pinch herself when she sees her face plastered across a billboard in downtown Toronto.

And when the 23-year-old WNBA All-Star pulls on a pair of Jordan brand shoes? If you told a young Nurse she would one day find herself doing that, "I would have laughed at you".

Canberra Capitals coach Paul Goriss thinks some WNBL fans are yet to grasp the notion Nurse is, put simply, "a global superstar".

She is one of three women's basketball players to have formally joined the coveted Jordan brand family and has emerged as one of the game's most exciting players.

The best part about it? Canberra fans have a chance to see her play in their own city when she suits up for the Capitals against the Townsville Fire at the National Convention Centre on Sunday.

"She is a global superstar, it's not just in Canada, or in the WNBA or in Australia," Goriss said.

"Around the world, people know who she is and I don't think she gets the recognition to some extent around the world for how she can play and what she can bring to the game.

"She probably gets that in Canada, but people around the world probably don't know how big of a deal she is.

"Just don't tell her that."

Kia Nurse has quickly become a fan favourite in the WNBL. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Kia Nurse has quickly become a fan favourite in the WNBL. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Nurse scored 28 points in her WNBL return to lead the Capitals to a round one win over Adelaide three days after she arrived in the country.

She showed every bit of the charisma and skill fans grew to love as the star import helped the Capitals to a drought-breaking championship last season.

Now she joins Opals stars Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo in search of back-to-back titles for a group boasting French point guard Olivia Epoupa and a raft of promising youngsters led by Keely Froling and Maddison Rocci.

"The sky is the limit," Nurse said.

"I love to think of it that way and understanding as the weeks go on, each team is going to get better but we're going to get better as well.

"Not only with adding players but just getting a feel, we have some new players to the team, playing with each other, the plays we want to run.

"Obviously Tolo and Mikaela [Ruef] will be huge assets for us as well.

"There's a trust there already and a competitiveness and an effort that is incredible. That's what you want in your teammates. It's only going to continue to grow from there.

She is a global superstar, it's not just in Canada, or in the WNBA or in Australia.

Capitals coach Paul Goriss on star import Kia Nurse

"There's definitely more of a comfort level [returning to the WNBL] in terms of knowing what to expect and knowing how the game is played.

"It is a little different, obviously, and knowing how the refs call the games and being aware of that.

"It was a lot of fun to come back and play in such a great atmosphere that we always have in Canberra."

The Capitals are set to welcome Tolo back into the fray from a foot infection as they prepare to face the Fire and the Canberra co-captain will be greeted by a handful of familiar faces on the other side of the court.

Kate Gaze and Hannah Young have joined forces in Townsville while Goriss is bracing for Abby Bishop to return from a minor concussion.

Former Capital Abby Bishop will collide with Canberra once more - this time in a Townsville uniform. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Former Capital Abby Bishop will collide with Canberra once more - this time in a Townsville uniform. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Bishop missed Townsville's opening round clash with the Southside Flyers last week after suffering a head knock at training but the Capitals will prepare for a full-strength Fire outfit.

"We always plan for everyone being in. We'll go in planning for Bishop to play," Goriss said.

"Hopefully we will be able to manage some minutes with Tolo coming back into our rotation.

"Getting wins early in the season when teams aren't fully prepared, the same as us, is definitely a good start for us."

This story 'Sky is the limit' for Capitals sensation first appeared on The Canberra Times.