Canberra Capitals sign Australian Opal Leilani Mitchell for WNBL season
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Canberra Capitals sign Australian Opal Leilani Mitchell for WNBL season

The Canberra Capitals have recruited a WNBL championship-winner to boost their hopes of ending a miserable finals drought, adding all star Leilani Mitchell to their roster for a play-off bid.

The Capitals will announce Mitchell's one-year deal on Friday after she decided it was time to come back to Australia following a playing stint in Turkey.

Leilani Mitchell will join the Capitals next season.

Leilani Mitchell will join the Capitals next season.Credit:Jeffrey Chan JCC

She is just the third player on Canberra's roster, joining Kelsey Griffin and Lauren Scherf as the only players with contracts for the next season.

It will be a chance for Mitchell to reignite her WNBL career after spending the past seven months playing in Europe, where she lives just 20 kilometres from the Syrian border.

The Capitals will be hoping the three-time WNBL all star and grand final most valuable player in 2016-17 will be the key to turning the club's fortunes around.

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The Capitals haven't made the finals since 2011 and coach Paul Goriss is on a recruitment mission to rebuild his squad after a massive player turnover.

"I'm super excited to be coming home," Mitchell said from Turkey.

"It's a good chance to play for [Goriss], we've got Kelsey Griffin as well so I know we're still signing players but I think it's going to be good.

"I know it's going to be a challenge in Canberra and that the Capitals had a tough season, they're trying to rebuild. And I don't mind the pressure, I'm not going to shy away from the challenge."

The former Dandenong Ranger, Sydney Flames and Lightning star will finish her season in Turkey in May and will play for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA before she begins her time in Canberra.

Her time in Hatay has been an eye-opening experience, with machine-gun carrying security guards at home games and going through metal detectors at shopping malls.

"It's all going on about half an hour from where I'm living, so I haven't seen anything bad happen," Mitchell said.

"But you go to a game and there's 15 or 20 security officers standing there with big guns, or you go to the mall and there is security there as well ... that's different. I get a bit nervous sometimes, but I'm very cautious."

Mitchell is also keen to force her way back into the Opals are a season schedule clash forced her to withdraw from Australian selection contention for the Commonwealth Games next month.

Mitchell, a Rio Olympian, is hopeful of earning a spot in Sandy Brondello's squad for the world championships later this year and has one eye on the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

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"I asked my team a couple of times if I could be released for the Comm Games, but it's the last couple of games of our season," Mitchell said.

"Playing for the Opals is always the goal. I was really bummed about the Comm Games ... but the world champs are coming up and hopefully I can stay healthy to compete for a spot in the team."