Maddison Rocci can still remember the moment she first met the little girl who adores the Canberra Capitals like no other.
"She wasn't like she is now, she just came up and introduced herself and gave me a hug," the Capitals guard said.
"But now she comes up to you, taps you on the back and wants you to chase her around the whole time."
That's Maia Paku, the three-year-old Capitals super fan who barely misses a game and writes jingles about her favourite players.
You can spot her in the AIS Arena stands when the Capitals face the Melbourne Boomers in their WNBL semi-final series decider on Wednesday night.
There's a good chance Maia will be wearing a leg sleeve - just one, to mimic Capitals star Kelsey Griffin - and one of her many Canberra jerseys.
The name on the back might be that of Kelsey Griffin, Keely Froling or Abby Cubillo. Or perhaps Rocci will see her own name on Maia's jersey.
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She did just that on Friday when the pair played around inside an empty AIS Arena to get a photo together for The Canberra Times.
The sight of the camera and a bright light left Maia searching for the arms of her mother Chelsea. But a block of chocolate brought the smile back to her face.
So too did Rocci and Marianna Tolo as they passed a basketball around with her. So too did the moment she beat them and Capitals coach Paul Goriss in a running race to half-court and back.
Moments like these leave 21-year-old Rocci pinching herself as she realises just how far she has come in three years as a WNBL player.
Once she was running around with Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor's names on her jerseys. Now there are kids looking up to her.
"To see a little girl have your name on the back of her jersey is something that is super cool. It's always been a dream of mine," Rocci said.
"When I was younger I had players on the back of my singlet, and it was cool to see them come up to you after a game.
"I really didn't think being at such a young age, you could have kids looking up to you as much as we have fans looking up to us. It's a special feeling and something you always remember.
"To hear her little cheer in the crowd is something that is super special. We give back to her because we know her and we want to give back to our fans.
"For her to be our No. 1 supporter is special, her parents do such a great job in raising her that way. She's super cute, we love having her around. After a win or a loss, she's always there to support us.
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"We're super proud of her and the way she comes to every single one of our games and just cheers so loud."
Rocci one of seven players on the roster remaining from Canberra's drought-breaking championship win last season alongside Tolo, Griffin, Keely Froling, Kia Nurse, Cubillo and the injury-plagued Kristy Wallace.
She returns to a grand final playoff a far more complete player than she was last season, which makes Rocci a significantly more dangerous prospect.
A win in Canberra sends the victor through to the grand final series against the table-topping Southside Flyers, beginning at Dandenong Stadium on Sunday.
It is there the Capitals could lock horns with former star Leilani Mitchell - but Canberra coach Paul Goriss refuses to look beyond the task at hand.
"As much as the history books will say we don't have Lei and Kelly [Wilson] back here so we're a different group, we kept the nucleus," Goriss said.
"That was key, you want that consistency in the playing group and five of the girls have all been a part of a championship and won it on this home court.
"It was important to keep the majority of the group around. They know what it feels like to win a championship.
"They know what it feels like to be in these situations where your back is to the wall, like we were in game two last year against Adelaide and closed it out at home.
"We're confident in the group we've got that we can get over the line here at home because we know what the crowd can do here to uplift us."
While Rocci has one championship ring locked away, there remains a raft of Capitals looking to secure their first. Among them is French starting point guard Olivia Epoupa.
There is United States college-bound duo Lily Scanlon and Gemma Potter - who was still in a moon boot on Tuesday battling an ankle injury.
There is Alex Delaney following in the footsteps of her mother, two-time WNBL champion Gail Henderson. There is Shakera Reilly, a promising youngster who has earned monikers like the "Mayor of Maitland".
These are the rookies determined to make the most of their chance if Goriss gives them the nod during the do-or-die semi-final.
"If game three of any kind of final doesn't get you juiced up, nothing will," Goriss said.
"They're super excited because they've done the same amount of work as anyone else in our group.
"Because they are young, there is that genuine excitement in the game and the opportunity to get to a grand final."
Perhaps one day little Maia will be chasing the same dream.
WNBL SEMI-FINAL GAME THREE
Semi-final series two
Wednesday: Canberra Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at AIS Arena, 7.30pm. Tickets from Ticketek.