Canberra Capitals sign WNBA power forward Jordan Hooper for WNBL season
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Canberra Capitals sign WNBA power forward Jordan Hooper for WNBL season

Canberra Capitals recruit Jordan Hooper hopes to help fill the void left by star centre Marianna Tolo and use her second stint in the WNBL as a stepping stone for her career.

The WNBA forward has signed a deal to join the Capitals for the 2017-18 season and will be crucial cog in replacing Europe-bound Tolo.

Canberra Capitals recruit Jordan Hooper.

Canberra Capitals recruit Jordan Hooper.Credit:WNBL

Hooper is the latest player to join the Capitals' roster as coach Paul Goriss continues to build a team he hopes will end a six-year finals drought.

Hooper will shoulder a massive load in the new-look team after the departure of Tolo and co-captain Carly Wilson at the end of last season.

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But the 25-year-old is keen to step up as Canberra chases its first play-off berth since 2011 after getting a taste of WNBL action two years ago with the South East Queensland Stars.

"The skill level and knowledge level in Australia is really good so I'm really excited to be going to back having a crack," Hooper said.

"I spent less than half a season with the Stars and I've been looking for an opportunity to get back to the WNBL.

"The goal whenever you play is to be a championship contender and get better as a basketball player. I really think we can do that in Canberra and help me become a player."

Hooper will finishing her season with the Connecticut Suns before linking with the University of Canberra-based Capitals for the WNBL preparation.

The 188 centimetre forward is pressing for more game time with the Suns in her fourth season in the WNBA after being the No. 13 draft pick in 2014.

Hooper was a college basketball star at Nebraska, making the All-American first team in 2014 and being named the Big Ten player of the year in the same season.

"I don't know too much about Canberra but I know it's beautiful and I'm looking forward to getting there," Hooper said.

"I have a great view of Australian basketball ... when I went and played in WNBL you see every player in every single position compared to the [WNBA] where you just play one position.

"I think being able to play anywhere on the floor is really awesome, that's why I think players like Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor were so good at what they did."

Hooper also played on the United States team which own a gold medal at the world university games in 2013.

Three Capitals players - Abigail Wehrung, Lauren Scherf and Keely Froling - were named in Australia's university games team this week to play at the tournament in Chinese Taipei in August.

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It followed a strong Canberra contingent in the Australian Opals training squad, with Hooper's former teammate Rachel Jarry, Marianna Tolo and Lauren Mansfield as well as former Capitals Abby Bishop, Alex Bunton and Nat Hurst all invited to a camp.

Point guard Hurst is weighing up her future and hasn't ruled out reuniting with the Capitals next season.

Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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