BENDIGO Spirit star forward Kelsey Griffin is back on court for her WNBA team, helping the Connecticut Sun begin its pre-season campaign with a convincing win.
Griffin scored 10 points and pulled down three rebounds during 17 minutes on court as the Sun cruised to a 75-54 victory over New York Liberty at home on Sunday.
She was the second-highest scoring player in the match, behind dominant team-mate Katie Douglas on 21 points.
Dandenong Rangers import Kayla Pedersen also played a role for the Sun, with six rebounds.
Griffin, a two-time WNBL championship and grand final most valuable player winner, hopes her to emulate her success Down Under as she returns to the new-look Connecticut line-up.
After experiencing its worst season in franchise history with a 10-24 record in 2013, the Sun is rebuilding and only six players remain from last year's roster.
Veterans including Tina Charles and Kara Lawson have moved on but the club has welcomed Douglas back from Indiana and picked up exciting young Atlanta point guard Alex Bentley and rookies Chiney Ogwumike and Alyssa Thomas.
"It's really exciting," Griffin told The Register Citizen.
"I feel like we have the potential to be a (play-off) team, hopefully this season."
She also spoke candidly about her love of Bendigo, how she has bought a house and applied for permanent residency here and is trying to gain Australian citizenship.
"I'm hoping that it won't be too long... Whenever my case worker says they need more paperwork, I try to get that paperwork to him."
Griffin is likely to play as a power forward in her fifth year at the Sun and big things are expected from her on the court and as an off-court leader.
Connecticut was set to play New York in another pre-season match at Madison Square Garden early Friday local time.
The two teams meet in round one of the official WNBA season, which tips off on May 16.