Canberra Capitals add depth to cover Marianna Tolo
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Canberra Capitals add depth to cover Marianna Tolo

The Canberra Capitals have signed American Kaili McLaren on a short-term contract to fill the void left by superstar Marianna Tolo for the opening months of the WNBL season.

McLaren's contract runs until the start of December, with Tolo due to return in November following her second anterior cruciate ligament tear.

Marianna Tolo will return in November.

Marianna Tolo will return in November.

Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

It is a massive boost for a Capitals outfit set to enter the season without the services of Tolo and Kristy Wallace, while Kelsey Griffin's preparations have been stunted by repeated injuries.

McLaren will join the Capitals following a stint with Bornova Becker in Turkey, plugging the gap left by her former opponent in Tolo.

"I can’t wait to get to Canberra and link up with the team. I’ve never played in Australia and it’s always been a goal of mine to try myself in the WNBL.

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"The opportunity to train and play alongside Marianna and Kelsey is exciting. I only know them as the opposition, but I’m eager to play with and learn from them as teammates."

Tolo is confident she can bounce back from the disappointment of a second ACL injury to recapture career-best form, but for now McLaren has a huge role to play.

Canberra coach Paul Goriss says 30-year-old McLaren is set to play a huge role on offense for the Capitals as the club looks to snap a seven-year finals drought.

"Kaili is a great passer of the ball and has a high basketball IQ," Goriss said.

"She will bring with her a wealth of experience having played in big games at UConn and in Europe. She’ll be a key player for us up front in the early part of the season. We look forward to having Kaili join us."

McLaren made a name for herself during her time at the University of Connecticut in the NCAA Division I, playing an integral role in the powerhouse's undefeated 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns.

Kaili McLaren is joining the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL.

Kaili McLaren is joining the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL.

Photo: Supplied