Capitals chase Kristen Veal and Carley Mijovic to join Lauren Jackson, Abby Bishop and Stephanie Talbot

The Canberra Capitals will ramp up their bid to build a championship-winning roster as they close in on veteran Kristen Veal and rising star Carley Mijovic.

With Abby Bishop signing a new deal on Wednesday and Stephanie Talbot committing to two years with the Capitals, Canberra coach Carrie Graf is starting to build around superstar Lauren Jackson in the hope of transforming the club back into title contenders.

Veal is close to a signing deal to return to Canberra more than a decade after teaming up with Jackson for the Capitals' first title in 1999, Mijovic has been offered a new contract and Jess Bibby and Carly Wilson are expected to recommit.

Jackson's comeback Australian season was the big lure for gun recruit and WNBA draftee Stephanie Talbot.

As revealed last month, former Adelaide Lightning forward Talbot has signed a two-year deal to boost her Australian Opals hopes and play alongside Jackson.

"Everyone's excited about Lauren coming back and the potential of Abby," Graf said.

"It's coming together slowly. Other clubs got a jump on us, but we're coming together and it was just a matter of sorting out things with the University of Canberra and then moving forward."

The University of Canberra has taken over the Capitals' WNBL licence from Basketball ACT and the team will be run from the Bruce campus when training begins later this year.

Talbot is the first recruit to take advantage of the education-sport package deal on offer.

The 19-year-old will live on campus at the university and juggle her basketball duties with a coaching science degree.

Talbot has been living in Canberra for three years as part of her previous Australian Institute of Sport scholarship.

She played with the Lightning last season and the former rookie of the year is determined to make her move to Canberra a good one.

The former junior Australian netball representative has set herself a goal of chasing her Opals dreams.

"It's going to be interesting living with uni students, but I'm used to it and I've had to pull myself out of things in the past to focus on sport," Talbot said.

"It's going to be great to work with Lauren and learn off her, I'm really looking forward to that.

"I go back to netball now and it's boring ... Hopefully this year we can make finals with the Capitals and get into it."

Talbot was drafted at pick No.33 by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.

It means the Mercury owns the rights to Talbot for at least the next three years, but she won't go to the US until both parties believe she's ready to challenge herself overseas.

"It's definitely exciting, I knew it was a possibility but I never thought it would happen," Talbot said.

Graf said Talbot's defensive tenacity set her apart from other rising stars in Australian women's basketball.

"When you ask a 19-year-old what their strength is and they say defence ... that's what I love," Graf said.

"She's a great athlete, gritty, tough and can rebound at both ends. She prides herself on defence, she's going to have a battle and that's what makes her different."

The story Capitals chase Kristen Veal and Carley Mijovic to join Lauren Jackson, Abby Bishop and Stephanie Talbot first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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