The University of Canberra Capitals has added seven-time WNBL championship winner and hometown favourite Natalie Hurst to its 2017/18 roster.
Hurst has signed a one-year contract with the UC Capitals, sealing a return to the club she helped become the most successful in WNBL history.
The talented guard won seven championships in nine seasons (1999-2010) with the UC Capitals. She is the only player in the club’s history to be involved in all seven championships.
The 34-year-old said she was delighted to be rekindling her relationship with the club.
“I’m excited to return to where it all began,” Hurst said. “This club played such an important role in shaping me as a player and I enjoyed some of the best moments of my career here.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of this new and exciting era at the UC Capitals and adding to the fond memories I have of the club.”
Hurst has played the last two seasons in the EuroLeague with Turkish club Hatay.
Last month, she was named in the Australian Opals training squad ahead of the FIBA Asia Women’s Cup in July. An injury sustained in Turkey has ruled her out of contention.
UC Capitals head coach Paul Goriss said Hurst’s return to Canberra was a huge coup for the club and its supporters. He said it represented an important step in the club’s journey back to the top.
“It’s a special signing for the UC Capitals, bringing back a local Canberra player to her hometown and the only club she has played for in WNBL,” Goriss said.
“In Nat, we have signed not only a local Canberra athlete, but someone who has played in the best leagues in the world and against some of the best female basketball players.
“She ticks all the boxes for us: she’s a great leader, a fierce competitor, makes others around her better and provides us with a veteran on the court.”
Hurst last played for the UC Capitals in its 2009/10 championship-winning season.
She left Australia soon after, signing with French club Aix en Provence in 2011 and has since played in Hungary and Turkey.
Hurst earned her first international cap in 2009 and won a gold medal that year at the FIBA Oceania Women’s Championships.