Sport

Canberra Capitals confident DeNesha Stallworth will be cleared to play SEQ

Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf is confident the WNBL will clear DeNesha Stallworth to play against former side South East Queensland on Sunday, branding the contract clause which forced her to sit out last month's clash "against the spirit of the game."

As part of the terms of her mid-season release from the crisis stricken franchise, Stallworth was banned from playing against them in Canberra's 115-75 loss on January 23. 

Canberra Capitals  player Denesha  Stallworth fights for a loose ball against Dandenong last week.
Canberra Capitals player Denesha Stallworth fights for a loose ball against Dandenong last week.  Photo: Melissa Adams

The Stars were placed in liquidation last week but will play out the season after a eleventh hour deal was struck, provided head coach Shane Heal was replaced. 

Graf is confident Stallworth will be given the green light to play, but insisted the Capitals would not have inserted a similar clause had the shoe been on the other foot. 

"We'd never do that, absolutely not. It's not in the spirit of the game," Graf said. 

"The WNBL is currently going through the legals with SEQ in liquidation, but we're confident we'll have a definitive answer in the next 24 to 48 hours. 

"I'm no lawyer and Basketball Australia and WNBL lawyers are looking at all that, once we have confirmation from the league, we're confident that will be the case.

"They'll have their assistant coaches coaching and the program is unlikely to move ahead, they're playing for a lot that team."

So too are the Capitals, whose players will be keen to impress after Graf's decision to step down at the end of the season. 

They also have three games left, starting with Friday's home clash with third-placed Perth Lynx, to break their winless run.  

Stallworth was adamant she won't be out to make a point against the Stars on Sunday, and has spoken to some of her former teammates about the drama engulfing the club. 

"Everyone has their different opinions about people and I really couldn't care less what they feel about me, I'm here to do a job and play for the Capitals," she said. 

"It's tough for them, I've spoken to a few of them and they're happy, and I'm happy they're able to keep playing." 

"I hope everything works out, it's our last few games and I want to go up there and just play."

 Capitals point guard Renee Montgomery was the team's best in Saturday's narrow loss to Dandenong, despite not training after she was bitten by a white tail spider. 

"Basically they told me I had to be a bum for six days and it was torture," Montgomery said. 

"It's hard to think about moral victories but I feel like we were a team [against Dandenong] and it was actually fun to play in that atmosphere."

The Perth clash will be the official farewell game for Lauren Jackson, who hasn't played a game this season due to injury. 

 The Stars game will also be the final road trip of Graf's 15 year Capitals career, before her tenure ends at home against Bendigo next weekend. 

"I've travelled the world with basketball teams and I won't be missing road trips, I'll be enjoying weekends at home with the kids and the chooks."

WNBL 

Friday: Canberra Capitals v Perth Lynx at AIS Arena, 7pm

Sunday: SEQ Stars v Canberra Capitals at Logan, 5pm