The Canberra Capitals' play-off dream has been gifted a shot in the arm with the recruitment of international basketball's brightest prospects in Kia Nurse.
Capitals coach Paul Goriss says Nurse can have a huge impact in the WNBL after she turned down offers from European clubs to sign a one-year deal with Canberra for the 2018-19 season.
The New York Liberty guard was selected 10th overall in the 2018 WNBA draft after impressing at the University of Connecticut and for Canada on the international scene.
The 22-year-old was still in high school when she forced her way into the Canadian national team, laying the platform for an Olympic Games appearance in 2016.
From there she met Capitals star Marianna Tolo, who is friends with a handful of Canadian players, which ultimately laid the platform for her shift to Canberra.
"Tolo did a hell of a job helping recruiting and getting her over the line," Goriss said.
"It just helped that she felt comfortable coming to Canberra, because she had some big European offers. She turned those down to come here because she wanted to have a good experience for her first pro gig.
"She knew of Kelly [Wilson] through college, she knows of Kristy Wallace. There were some links back to here which she liked and she thought she’d fit in well with the group.
"For someone so young, she has got a great deal of experience and from what I hear, just really savvy with a good basketball IQ, and a workhorse.
"The thing for us recruitment-wise is someone that can play both ends of the floor and she definitely brings that... she’s a warrior, she competes.
"While she can shoot the three and she can make mid-range pull-ups, she can definitely score - she had 34 in a WNBA game as a rookie which was the biggest score for a rookie this season.
"She can definitely score but the other thing she brings is defensive capabilities. She can defend over multiple positions. We wanted somebody we could go ‘that person is going off, go and guard her’. She’s got that mentality, she wants to be a great defender and she is a great defender."
Nurse will arrive in Canberra in early October following the world championships, which will give her little more than 10 days to prepare for the season opener. But Goriss' message is simple" be who you are, play how you normally play", and the rest will look after itself.
Nurse could be the final piece in Canberra's puzzle, with the club still boasting one import spot but unsure if they will try to fill it with the budget already stretched thin.
Her recruitment gives Canberra the opportunity to play three ball handlers on court at once with Goriss keen to "play a little bit differently" in a bid to snap the Capitals' seven-year finals drought.
Nurse was crowned the 2015 FIBA AmeriCup's most valuable player as she went on to win back-to-back NCAA titles with UConn in 2015 and 2016 to make her mark on her family's rich sporting history.
Her father is a former Canadian Football League player, her mother a college basketballer, her brother an Edmonton Oilers player in the NHL, and her sister also playing college basketball.
"I’m incredibly excited to get over to Australia and join the Capitals for the WNBL season," Nurse said.
"I believe this is the perfect place to be starting my overseas playing career. I think we have a team capable of competing for a WNBL championship and I’m excited to be a part of that."