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Capitals confident Isabelle Strunc can boost back court

The Canberra Capitals are confident they’ll boast one of the WNBL’s most dangerous back courts after signing French guard Isabelle Strunc.

But coach Carrie Graf admits an injury to their thin post stocks would jeopardise their hopes of a finals return after two years in the wilderness.

The Canberra Times revealed last week Strunc, 22, was poised to become the Capitals’ first European signing in more than two decades.

She completes a hat-trick of French signings alongside returning championship players Nat Hurst and Abby Bishop.

Australian Opals forward Bishop had a major say in bringing Strunc to Canberra after the pair played together for French side Perpignan last year.

A Capitals guard rotation headlined by Hurst, Strunc, Nicole Hunt and Jess Bibby is brimming with scoring potential, but the breakdown in talks with superstar centre Lauren Jackson has left them short up front.


‘‘In a perfect world we need another post, mostly for practice and in case of injury,’’ Graf said.

‘‘We don’t need [Carley] Mijovic, [Alex] Bunton or Bishop going down injured, that’d hurt us.

‘‘We’d have to swing Carly Wilson into the post and she holds her own, but you can’t compete year after year in the playoffs if you have to go down that route.’’

Shooting guard Strunc has played for the French under-20 team, and was also invited to national camp before last year’s Olympics.

‘‘She comes with a great recommendation from two of our star players,and she’ll fill the void left by [Michelle] Cosier’s pregnancy and Casey Samuels’ departure to Sydney,’’ Graf said.

‘‘It will be good for the WNBL too, in my time at the Caps we’ve always had Opals or American imports.

‘‘She can shoot the ball from the perimeter, she can get into the lane and is a good passer from what we’ve seen.

‘‘[In the back court] we’ve got some really good offensive punch.’’

Canberra products Sarah McAppion and Tara Hay will also add to Canberra’s guard depth after stints in US college basketball.

Contract and payment bungles at Perpignan allowed Bishop to return to Canberra, and has also opened the door for Strunc. ‘‘I wanted to see another country through basketball, I got this opportunity and I couldn’t say no,’’ Strunc said.

‘‘It’s good to know Abby because she’s helps me a lot if I have a problem, so it’s easier for me.

‘‘I want to see another league and it’s going to be good for my development.’’

The Capitals begin their season at home against Sydney at AIS Arena on Saturday, October 5.