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Rd.2 NBL/WNBL Players of the Week

WEEK 2 of our national leagues threw up more than a few nominees for Player of the Week status but you know it has to be an extra super-duper effort in a losing team to win the nod here from our ruthless judging coterie.

Bryce Cotton and Nick Kay were exceptional for Perth, Adelaide and Sydney split their two-game weekends and Melbourne didn’t truly have a standout against the 36ers.

So in the end, the NBL Player of the Week did become something of a one-horse race, Todd Blanchfield clearly the man of the hour as Illawarra ended Cairns’ record of winning their first home game at 17 years.

Blanchfield, brought in from Sydney Kings to be a scoring swingman, had a career-high 29 in the Hawks’ quadruple overtime loss to Melbourne United before fading, like the rest of the Hawks, in the bitter loss in Perth.

But yesterday back in Cairns, not far from his one-time stomping ground in Townsville, Blanchfield was extraordinary in going off for a new career-high of 32 points at 61 percent, with seven 3-pointers, seven rebounds, two assists, four steals and a huge last quarter block.

He was terrific in a team which stood up under the most difficult of circumstances to score a huge road victory.

Rd1 Melo Trimble
Rd2 Todd Blanchfield

* * *

KELSEY Griffin certainly reminded everyone in the WNBL she was MVP of last year’s FIBA Asia Cup with two big games for unbeaten Canberra in Round 2.

But despite her wonderful performances, this week’s winner is Brittany McPhee of the Perth Lynx.

Replacing a player of the calibre of Sami Whitcomb never was going to be easy and McPhee looked a little at sea in the season-opener against Adelaide.

But against the defending champs yesterday, McPhee torched Townsville to a tune of a season-best 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting, with four threes, seven rebounds and one assist.

A superstar high school player for Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, Washington, McPhee ranks as the #2 scorer in Washington high school girl’s basketball history.

She was the State of Washington high school player of the year for each of her last three years there and took her team – assisted greatly by her twin sister - to the State Tournament multiple times, reaching the title game one year.

In her last year, she also was selected as a national high school All-American.

She played her college ball at Stanford, one of the top Division I schools for women’s basketball in the country and was one of its best players, helping to lead them into the NCAA tournament her last three years, including a trip to the Final Four.

Signed by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm – where Whitcomb won a championship this year – she genuinely was among the last players cut and should be a huge adjunct to the Lynx this season.

Rd1 Nia Coffey
Rd2 Brittany McPhee

Oct 22

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