Abby Cubillo will return to the Canberra Capitals determined to rise to the challenge set by coach Paul Goriss and lock down a place in the starting five.
The Canberra Times can reveal two-time champion Cubillo has signed a one-year deal to stay with the Capitals for her fourth season in the WNBL.
The 22-year-old bolsters Canberra's depth in the guard spot with Goriss challenging Cubillo, Kelly Wilson and Tahlia Tupaea to stake their claims for a starting role following the departure of Maddison Rocci to the Southside Flyers.
"It's up to them. Our group are always given opportunities to play and to be able to show what they can do. The ability now for her is to show that consistency and show that output game after game," Goriss said.
"We've got a very deep roster within our guard combinations this coming season, it's all going to come down to practice, pushing each other at practice and vying for minutes that way.
"It can go a number of different ways with the amount of guards we have this season, we could go with multiple ball handlers which is something we've done in the past with great success.
"It's going to come down to them, it's going to come down to who is going to come in and take the reins during pre-season to be ready for the WNBL when it starts.
"I never promise anybody anything. The great thing about us is it's going to be tough."
Cubillo's return adds a vital weapon to Canberra's arsenal, gifting Goriss the opportunity to test a raft of different combinations on court as the club chases a 10th championship.
Should Tupaea be required to be more of a scorer, Cubillo can shoulder the ball-handling duties. Should Wilson need to be the facilitator, Cubillo transforms into an iso player.
It makes the Capitals tougher to guard and there is little doubt Cubillo is up to the task as she looks to back up a career-best season in the north Queensland hub late last year.
Tenacious on defence, Goriss wanted to see her stand up on the offensive end and she delivered when it mattered to prove she is up to the task.
"I know I'd chatted with her before the season, saying she needs to start showing the improvements having been able to play behind people like Kelly Wilson, Leilani [Mitchell], Olivia Epoupa," Goriss said.
"It's going to come her time very soon that she has to be that kind of person, and she really showed that during the hub season, she took on that leadership role, she took on the point guard role when we had injuries throughout that season."
The Capitals have two slots left on their roster with the club on the verge of announcing another signing in the coming fortnight, while Goriss is still looking to "replace the irreplaceable" in Marianna Tolo, scouting overseas and our own backyard to plug the gap.
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