Canberra Capitals target Leilani Mitchell as Kelly Wilson departs

Leilani Mitchell's signature just became a whole lot more important to the Canberra Capitals' WNBL championship bid.

The Capitals have lost the unsung hero of their title win with 34-year-old guard Kelly Wilson returning to the Bendigo Spirit for the 2019-20 season.

Capitals star Kelly Wilson has left the club. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Capitals star Kelly Wilson has left the club. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Family and teaching commitments have ultimately made a return to Victoria for the WNBL the only realistic option for Wilson, who has spent the past three seasons interstate.

Capitals coach Paul Goriss says championship point guard Mitchell is pivotal to the club's hopes of securing back-to-back championships.

Goriss was adamant the club would not rush into the free agency market having opted to wait on Wilson and Mitchell to make a decision on their futures - but now the clock is ticking.

"Obviously we would have like to have had both of them back, but without Kelly now, it definitely makes Lei an integral part of [our plans], coming back as a championship point guard," Goriss said.

"It's coming to the pointy end and we've got to start making the decision soon, because there is not too much left to be able to recruit for an Australian point guard and how we tweak our roster in regards to that.

Leilani Mitchell looms as a vital target for the Capitals. Photo: AAP Image/Sam Mooy

Leilani Mitchell looms as a vital target for the Capitals. Photo: AAP Image/Sam Mooy

"Whether it ends up becoming an import point guard, that's a decision we'll have to make once we get a decision from Lei."

Rocci re-signed with the Capitals for another season earlier this month in the hope she can develop into one of the elite guards in the WNBL.

"She showed that in the first part of the season, she is a capable starter, and she was part of the reason why we got off to a great start while Lei was coming back from an injury," Goriss said.

"I don't think that's any problem if Maddy has to go into a starting role and she is well aware of that."

Paul Goriss has a newfound respect for Kelly Wilson after working with her. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Paul Goriss has a newfound respect for Kelly Wilson after working with her. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Goriss says it won't just be the basketball IQ Canberra miss about Wilson - it will be her leadership, her class, and her interaction with adoring fans.

"I sent her a message saying how great it was for me to actually be able to coach her, and have her as part of our team," Goriss said.

"I've admired her and how she played for a long time, and being able to work with her, that admiration has skyrocketed. I appreciate everything she did for us and the Caps."

Meanwhile, Capitals forward Keely Froling has been named in Australia's three-on-three squad for May's FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Froling joins Bec Cole, Alice Kunek and either Maddie Garrick or Marena Whittle to help Australia in vying for a World Cup berth.