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Rd.7 WNBL: 'Kadina Kid' cracks the ton

STEPH Talbot's potential to enjoy a prodigious career in basketball, first was spotted in SA country town Kadina, and this weekend the WNBL sees her arrive at 100 games.

Torn between her love of basketball and netball, Talbot, 24 and a 188cm guard/forward, had the dilemma of many young sportspeople but assuredly made the right choice.

Starting her junior career at Forestville Eagles, Talbot's team finished fourth at an Under-14 Nationals before she joined Eastern Mavericks and on to Norwood Flames, seeking - and finding - the best available coaching at each destination.

Inevitably, Talbot made it into Adelaide Lightning's WNBL team and memorably won the 2013 Betty Watson Rookie of the Year award.

It was made memorable when Talbot hit the stage at the awards presentation - Basketball Australia used to have them in those days - to accept her Rookie award.

Asked what she had learned from playing with Olympians Suzy Batkovic, Laura Hodges and Jenni Screen at Adelaide, Talbot summed it up in one word: "Shitloads."

That brought the house down and showed, as we all knew, you can take the kid out of Kadina but you can't take Kadina outta the kid.

Her WNBL career continued at Canberra Capitals, she was starting last WNBA season for Phoenix Mercury, she has played in Poland and in 2016, was an Opals' Rio Olympian.

Now with Melbourne Boomers, Talbot returns from injury this round and will wrack up WNBL game #100 on Sunday, ironically against her inaugural club, MAC Adelaide Lightning.

Leg soreness sidelined Talbot last round but she returns for the double against Canberra and Adelaide. Also back for the Boomers is Ezi Magbegor, the reigning Betty Watson Rookie of the Year, who has missed six games with a broken hand.


Melbourne at Canberra


DESPITE Perth Lynx not doing much wrong so far this season, many are tipping this Canberra-Melbourne matchup as a "grand final preview." When they met earlier in Melbourne, the Caps won 72-65. In the rematch in the capital, the Boomers won 84-78 so it seems there's no reason to believe the away court will work against Melbourne. We DO know it works in Canberra's favour but as coach Paul Goriss has shortened his rotation, Melbourne's depth could prove the difference.


Adelaide at Dandenong

LIGHTNING smashed the Rangers by 25 two rounds ago in Adelaide and the margin flattered Dandenong. But it may just have provided the spark Dandenong needed, last round crushing Bendigo and pushing Canberra in Canberra. After Lightning buried Bendigo in Adelaide, it was whipped in the road rematch and while that is unlikely here, Dandenong actually starts favourite.

Townsville at Bendigo

ITS season again on the brink, Townsville renews its regional rivalry with Bendigo in what amounts to another in a long list of Fire "must wins". The Spirit celebrate "Pink day" in support of breast cancer research and will want a big performance in its first clash with Townsville. The focus defensively must be on Suzy Batkovic who either does it herself or facilitates. Bendigo this time.

Perth at Sydney

STARING down the barrel of their 10th straight loss this season - and 12th since last season's playoffs - Sydney will be doing all it can to break its 2018-19 win-drought. Perth already smacked the Flames in Sydney 78-62 earlier this month, with former Flames Katie-Rae Ebzery (22 points) and Asia Taylor (13 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals) starring for the Lynx. Other than Sydney's wounded pride, there's little to suggest much to change this round.

Adelaide at Melbourne

DEPLETED, Lightning will be pushing a very full wheelbarrow at The Boomerang against Melbourne. Former Lightning stars Cayla George and Steph Talbot have the potential to wreak havoc, Lightning coach Chris Lucas knowing that all too well. Adelaide may enjoy the league's best import pairing in Nia Coffey and Kayla Alexander, but will struggle as a group to match the Boomers' depth.

* * *

WNBL Round 6 Results

DEAKIN MELBOURNE BOOMERS 89 (Allen 26, George 16, Garrick 13, Boothe, Grant 10; George, O'Hea 9 rebs; Allen 5 assts) d PERTH LYNX 69 (Taylor 20, McPhee 13, Steindl 10; Taylor 9 rebs; Ebzery 3 assts) at The Enclosure, Bendat Basketball Centre.
JAYCO DANDENONG RANGERS 83 (Laney 18, Lavey, Cole 16, Pedersen 12; Pedersen 12 rebs; Cole, Laney 5 assts) d BENDIGO BANK SPIRIT 62 (Tobin 14, McLean 11, Tomlinson 10; Tobin 8 rebs; Wehrung 4 assts) at The Goldmine, Bendigo Stadium.
JCU TOWNSVILLE FIRE 79 (Batkovic 26, Aokuso 15, Madgen 13, Mincy 10; Batkovic 14 rebs, Batkovic 7 assts) d MAC ADELAIDE LIGHTNING 77 (Alexander 16, Blicavs 15, Planeta 12, Coffey 11; Alexander 14 rebs; Clydesdale 5 assts) at The Lighthouse, Titanium Security Arena.
DEAKIN MELBOURNE BOOMERS 79 (Allen 21, George 17, Garrick 15, O’Hea 11; Purcell 15 rebs; Allen 6 assts) d JCU TOWNSVILLE FIRE 75 (Cocks 19, Malott 14, Madgen, Batkovic 12; Batjovic 14 rebs; Cocks 4 assts) at The Boomerang, State Basketball Centre. UNI of CANBERRA CAPITALS 77 (Griffin 25, Nurse 18, Scherf 14; Griffin, Scherf 8 rebs; Wilson 7 assts) d JAYCO DANDENONG RANGERS 65 (Cole 16, Laney 13; Jarry 8 rebs; Cole 6 assts) at the Home-cooking Kitchen, National Convention Centre.

Nov 22

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