8 March 2018: The University of Canberra Capitals have signed Australian Opals representative Kelsey Griffin for the 2018/19 WNBL season and beyond.
The 30-year-old who grew up in Alaska and became an Australian citizen in 2015, has inked a two-year deal with the UC Capitals.
Griffin comes to Canberra from Bendigo, where she has plied her trade with the Spirit since 2012. In her six seasons in Victoria, she established herself as a dominant force, helping deliver two WNBL championships, claiming two grand final MVP awards and receiving two All-Star nominations.
Yesterday she was named in the Opals squad to contest next month’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The star forward said the opportunity to work under head coach Paul Goriss, being based at the University of Canberra and having the Australian Institute of Sport at her doorstep convinced her to put pen to paper.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Paul in an Opals capacity and he helped develop parts of my game,” Griffin said. “His plans for the UC Capitals align with what I want to achieve in my career and I’m keen to see where he can take me. I’m really excited to join this club.”
“I came to Australia over six years ago and fell in love with Bendigo right away. I love Bendigo but I saw an incredible opportunity with what the administration here in Canberra is trying to do for the UC Capitals…trying to build an incredible team culture is something that I really believe in,” she said.
Griffin remains confident her best years on court are still ahead of her but she is also preparing for life after basketball.
“I want to be a teacher and I believe the great partnership with the University of Canberra creates the best place for me to achieve that,” she said.
She played six games for Bendigo last season, averaging 16.8 points, before being sidelined with a hip injury. She had surgery in April last year and arrived in Canberra earlier this week for rehabilitation at the AIS.
“I’m feeling really good and hopefully this is the final tune up that I will need before I get back on the court,” she said.
Following the Commonwealth Games, Griffin will head to America in May after signing a training camp with WNBA club Connecticut Sun. She’ll then start pre-season with the UC Capitals in September.
Head coach Paul Goriss said he was excited to have a player of Kelsey’s calibre join the UC Capitals.
“Kelsey is a proven winner, leader and competitor, and her work ethic at both ends of the court drives others to be better,” Goriss said. “Her ability to rebound, run the ball and defend gives us an all-round player with versatility and grunt.”
Goriss said Griffin’s signing also gives the club some stability for recruitment.
“We’ve got to have some consistency in our playing group and we’ve definitely got that with Kelsey signing for two years.”
She joins Lauren Scherf on the roster for the 2018/19 season.