Capitals Nat Hurst and Ezi Magbegor named in Opals camp

The Canberra Capitals have been locked in a downward spiral for almost two months but there is light at the end of the tunnel for captain Nat Hurst and young gun Eziyoda Magbegor.

They're at opposite ends of their careers but Hurst and Magbegor have emerged together as Australian Opals contenders for the Commonwealth Games.

The pair will join 18 other players in camp at the AIS European training centre in Italy in early February ahead of the Gold Coast Games.

It's a timely boost for the Canberra duo as they look to help the Capitals snap the second-worst losing streak in club history against the Melbourne Boomers at Victoria's State Basketball Centre on Saturday.

Eighteen-year-old sensation Magbegor has already been compared to the great Lauren Jackson but she is beginning to forge her own legacy as one of Australian basketball's most promising talents.

"It's definitely a big surprise considering how many experienced girls there are that are older than me," Magbegor said.

"Obviously there's girls that are out on commitments that couldn't attend the camp so it's a pretty big honour attending a camp with some of the best players in the country.

"I knew that obviously there so many big names in the competition at the the moment in my position as well so it was surprising to get selected.

"Obviously I'm very, very privileged and grateful for the opportunity."

It's a journey in stark contrast to that of 34-year-old Hurst, who had almost closed the book on her international ambitions after missing the world championships and Olympic Games squads.

Seven-time championship winner Hurst thought her Opals ambitions were nothing more than a pipe dream before she was called into an Australian camp in May, and now she has another chance to impress.

A return to Melbourne means Capitals veteran Mistie Bass is set for another date with controversial Boomers star Liz Cambage.

Cambage copped a one-game suspension in late November after she kneed Bass in the back of the leg, sending the Canberra star crashing to the ground in pain.

Bass is returning to the side having missed the Perth clash on Thursday night with her baby Braven sick in hospital since last Sunday.

Magbegor expects Bass to shape up to Cambage as soon as the ball is tipped off.

"She's definitely one to start on her. She did well defending her last game so it will be good to see them go against her again," Magbegor said.

"Her mindset is to go on court and show what she can do, and obviously defend Liz how she did last time because she did a really good job on that."

The Capitals slumped to the second worst losing streak in club history following another fourth quarter collapse against the Perth Lynx on Thursday.

Canberra went into the final quarter with scores tied but only managed seven more points as Perth turned on the jets with a 21-0 run to secure an 89-76 win at the Bendat Basketball Centre.

It marks just the second time Canberra have fallen to 11 consecutive losses - the only other time being when they lost 21 straight games in 2015-16.

WNBL - ROUND 9

Saturday: Melbourne Boomers v Canberra Capitals at State Basketball Centre, Melbourne, 7.30pm.

Australian Opals squad: Rebecca Allen (Lyon- France), Suzy Batkovic (Townsville Fire), Abby Bishop (Adelaide Lightning), Stephanie Blicavs (Dandenong Rangers), Elizabeth Cambage (Melbourne Boomers), Katie-Rae Ebzery (Sydney Flames), Cayla George (Townsville Fire), Kelsey Griffin (Bendigo Spirit), Natalie Hurst (Canberra Capitals), Alice Kunek (Perth Lynx), Tessa Lavey (Dandenong Rangers), Ezi Magbegor (Canberra Capitals), Lauren Mansfield (Energa Torun- Poland), Leilani Mitchell (Hatay - Turkey), Jenna O'Hea (Melbourne Boomers), Belinda Snell (Sydney Flames), Stephanie Talbot (Mondeville - France), Marianna Tolo (Abdullah Gul - Turkey)

This story Capitals Nat Hurst and Ezi Magbegor named in Opals camp first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.