The Canberra Capitals' leadership duo will turn to rising prospects Maddison Rocci and Keely Froling to "carry the team" during a turbulent month in their title defence.
Marianna Tolo and Kelsey Griffin have been named in the Australian Opals squad for a pre-Olympic Games qualifying tournament in Kuala Lumpur from November 14.
Tolo and Griffin are still returning to full fitness having missed the FIBA Asia Cup in the wake of pre-season campaigns disrupted by injury.
Kia Nurse will return to Canada for a qualification tournament, but the trio are unlikely to miss WNBL games with the competition going on a 13-day break for the FIBA window.
However they will likely need to be managed by Capitals coach Paul Goriss, and Griffin says it will put the onus on the youngsters to shoulder the load.
"Keely and Maddy are going to step up anyway, even if those [FIBA] windows weren't there," Griffin said.
"They're at that age and they have that experience, they can be huge impact players. I'm excited to see the season they have.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS
"It's going to be huge, really big. It'll be really interesting to see how coaches go about doing it.
"[Adelaide coach] Chris Lucas is on staff, [Southside coach] Cheryl Chambers is on staff, Goz is on staff for Opals, but they're also WNBL head coaches in their own right.
"How do they manage their Opals? It will be interesting. That's really a great question for them.
"It poses it's challenges but the one thing I really do love about Australian basketball is it is a player first mindset.
"It's about what is best for the player, and I don't think that will be jeopardised this season, especially because it's an Olympic year.
"Everyone wants to win a WNBL championship, everyone wants their players to have the best chance to make it on the Opals to go to Tokyo. It's a very interesting set-up."
The qualifying window is the first of two scheduled to break up the WNBL season, with another wedged between the final round of the regular season and the semi-finals in February.
Tolo says the hectic schedule presents an unknown as she prepares to make her return from a foot injury against the Townsville Fire at the National Convention Centre on Sunday.
"I'm in two minds about it because I find every time I go away for national duties, I come back better because I'm playing at a higher level and it just elevates your game that little bit extra," Tolo said.
"But then being in the middle of the season, I might be more fatigued. It'll be interesting to see.
"Keely and Maddy, the players that are here that aren't involved with national duties, will have to be consistent and be solid, and help carry the team through that turbulent time."
The Opals' 19-player squad will be whittled down to 12 later this month before they travel to Kuala Lumpur for the three-game tournament.
Australia will meet Japan, Chinese Taipei and India. Japan have already qualified for the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament on account of being the host nation for the Tokyo Games.
Australia must finish in the top two to progress to February's final round of qualifying, dubbed the world Olympic qualifying tournament.
Only the top three from four pools will advance to the Olympics.
Opals squad: Rebecca Allen, Abby Bishop, Sara Blicavs, Liz Cambage, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Darcee Garbin, Cayla George, Kelsey Griffin, Tess Lavey, Tess Madgen, Ezi Magbegor, Leilani Mitchell, Lauren Nicholson, Jenna O'Hea, Nicole Seekamp, Steph Talbot, Marianna Tolo, Tahlia Tupaea, Sami Whitcomb.
WNBL ROUND TWO
Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Townsville Fire at National Convention Centre, 2pm.