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Abby Bishop keen to send Canberra Capitals stalwarts out on a high

Abby Bishop is bracing for a few weeks of intense rehab as she looks to work back to full fitness to give her the best chance of wearing the green and gold in Rio.

But her immediate priority is nursing her hamstring through one more game and send Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf and Jess Bibby out in style against Bendigo on Saturday night.

The clash at AIS Arena is the last game in 15 seasons at the helm for Graf, while Bibby will retire as the most capped player in WNBL history. 

They've won only one game all season, but Bishop said it's motivation enough to lift.

"Obviously it's a big game for us in terms of finishing off the season strong and sending off Graffy and Bibby," she said. "It's going to be a very new phase in the club' history.

"It's sad, I don't think it's going to hit them until this weekend, but definitely everyone will be working their butts off to try and make sure they finish their Capitals careers on a high.


"We'll play for ourselves and the team and the supporters too, but especially for those two who have done so much for the program but also women's sport."

After winning the WNBL player of the year last season, Bishop has nursed a hamstring niggle throughout the season and will take time to get fully fit at the AIS facilities before heading back to the WNBA. 

"For me it's about getting my body back on track and getting back to peak fitness, which I haven't been able to do with this niggling injury," she said. 

I've got a good six or seven weeks at the AIS.

"It kind of has [been frustrating] but at the same time I've been able to get through. I think this is the right time to get it right, I still want to play for another couple of years at least."

Graf may be stepping down after 15 seasons and six titles at Canberra, but she's been quick to defer the spotlight to Bibby this week. 

The former Australian Opals coach isn't ready to hang up the clipboard just yet. 

"Bendigo could be playing for a potential play-off spot, our team will be playing to farewell one of our great players in Jess Bibby, there'll be a lot of emotion on both sides," Graf said. 

"For an athlete when they're retiring, there's some finality to it, but for me, this isn't the 'gold watch' for coaching. I might not coach in the WNBL, but I'm sure I'll be coaching basketball somewhere again. 

"To me this is a wonderful chapter closed in a wonderful program."

Bendigo must win at Sydney on Friday night and Canberra on Saturday, and hope South-East Queensland lose their Melbourne-Dandenong road double, to make the top four. 

Bishop will return to Seattle Storm in a few weeks but hasn't mulled over her future beyond that. Whether she plays next year for the Capitals could depend on who replaces Graf. 

"Different coaches like different players and for me and everyone else in the program it's just a waiting game to see who's the next coach," she said. 

"They might not like any of us, they might like some of us, they're obviously going to want to put their flavour into the team. For me I'm keeping my options open. I don't have any desire to make a decision any time soon."


Final round: Canberra Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at AIS Arena, 7pm