22 June 2016: The University of Canberra Capitals have added another key player to the roster for the upcoming season with Australian Opals star Marianna Tolo returning to the club that saw her take home two WNBL championships and a Most Valuable Player Award.
The 26-year-old said she was excited to rejoin the UC Capitals having played four seasons with Canberra, including the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 WNBL championships.
“I’ve got history with the UC Capitals and with Paul Goriss, who coached me when I was 14 years old. I’m also a proud University of Canberra graduate so I’m really excited to see what the season will bring,” Tolo said.
The 196cm centre, who graduated with a Bachelor of Sports Coaching and Exercise Science in 2012, played for French teams Aix En Provence and CJM Bourges Basket before signing with WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks in 2015.
Tolo has been back in Australia since late last year following surgery to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and is now pushing for Olympic selection having just returned from the Opals Europe tour where she played her first three games back against China, Canada and France.
“Everything felt really good and is moving along well. I’m doing everything I can to try and make it to Rio. It would mean the world to me to represent my country at the Olympics. It’s something I’ve dreamt about since I started playing basketball in primary school in my hometown of Mackay,” she said.
University of Canberra Capitals head coach Paul Goriss said her signing was a show of confidence in the club with Tolo turning down lucrative offers to play in Europe. She will also be a feature player in a new partnership between the UC Capitals and the Canberra Girls Grammar School (CGGS).
“We are really looking forward to having Marianna back in the UC Capitals family and also working with the students at Canberra Girls Grammar School. Marianna is an outstanding athlete who plays hard at both ends of the floor, has good mobility and excellent timing for changing and blocking shots, coupled with a desire and a hunger to be the best,” Goriss said.
In addition to her contribution on the court, Goriss said Marianna will be an integral part of a new partnership with CGGS. The partnership will see the UC Capitals participate in a number of activities at CGGS including reviewing their basketball program, undertaking basketball camps during school holidays and hosting student workshops on leadership and sport.
CGGS Principal Anne Coutts said the school was looking forward to working in partnership with the UC Capitals.
“Girls Grammar offers a wide range of co-curricular sport and we welcome the exciting partnership with UC Capitals to enrich our basketball program. Our talented and hard-working students will have expert mentoring and the chance to participate in workshops to enhance their skills and learn from role models like Marianna and other members of the team.”
The partnership also provides opportunities for students to support the UC Capitals at home games and to see first-hand what the University of Canberra is doing for women’s sport in the region.