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Talbot joins WNBL's all-time greats

ADELAIDE Lightning's versatile guard/forward Stephanie Talbot today created club history when she won the WNBL's Most Valuable Player award.

Talbot, 26 and 188cm, became the first player in the Lightning's storied history to not only win the MVP but also to be named the league's Best Defensive Player.

In the 2019 season, Lightning provided its first Best Defensive Player award winner in Lauren Nicholson and the club also boasts two previous league MVPs in club icon Rachael Sporn (1996, 1997) and all-time WNBL great Suzy Batkovic (2012, 2013).

But Talbot is the first to garner the most coveted individual accolade, alongside one of the toughest awards to also claim.

She completed the hat-trick with her selection in the WNBL's All Star Five First Team, alongside Katie Ebzery (Perth Lynx), Nicholson (Townsville Fire), Cayla George (Melbourne Boomers) and Liz Cambage (Southside Flyers).

Talbot is the first player in Adelaide's history to also complete the journey from Rookie of the Year (in 2013) to MVP.  She did not match her memorable 2013 acceptance speech today, delighted to receive the MVP award from the player it now is named for, six-time winner Batkovic.

“To have Suzy, someone I admire so much, present this medal to me in person was something I’ll treasure," Talbot said.

“On a personal note, I’m delighted to have won this award but it would not have been possible without a great group of teammates and supportive coaches in Chris (Lucas) and Nat (Hurst)."

Cambage finished second in MVP voting and Nicholson, another who blossomed as a player in Adelaide's program under Lucas over the previous three years and alongside Hurst last season, finished third.

Talbot averaged 18.2 points per game, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.9 steals, scoring in double figures in 11 of Adelaide's 13 matches. Her season-high scoring game was the 31 points in the upset win over UC Capitals on a memorable Remembrance Day.

She joins Julie Nykiel (Noarlunga City Tigers 1984, 1988), Jo Metcalfe (Melbourne Tigers, 1991), Michelle Brogan (Sydney Flames, 1998) and Abby Bishop (Canberra Capitals, 2015) as South Australian league MVPs, and also Rachael Flanagan (Townsville Fire, 2010, 2011) as the league's only other SA-born Best Defensive Player.

Continuing the SA-themed success, Townsville Fire boss Shannon Seebohm of Millicent in the state's South-East, won Coach of the Year honours for the second time, having previously claimed the award in 2015 at Sydney Flames.

Townsville's successes did not end there, playmaker Shyla Heal winning the Betty Watson Youth Player of the Year and centre/forward Zitina Aokuso, returning from an ACL repair, was named the Gatorade Sixth Woman of the Year.

The WNBL All Star Second Team was comprised of Maddison Rocci (Canberra Capitals), Heal (Townsville Fire), Tess Madgen (Melbourne Boomers), Sara Blicavs (Southside Flyers) and Ezi Magbegor (Melbourne Boomers).

Suzy Batkovic Medal, Most Valuable Player: Stephanie Talbot (Adelaide Lightning)
Betty Watson Youth Player of the Year: Shyla Heal (Townsville Fire)
Robyn Maher Best Defensive Player: Stephanie Talbot (Adelaide Lightning)
Gatorade Best Sixth Woman: Zitina Aokuso (Townsville Fire)
Coach of the Year: Shannon Seebohm (Townsville Fire)
All Star Five (First Team): Katie Ebzery (Perth Lynx), Lauren Nicholson (Townsville Fire), Stephanie Talbot (Adelaide Lightning), Cayla George (Melbourne Boomers), Liz Cambage (Southside Flyers)
All Star Five (Second Team): Maddison Rocci (Canberra Capitals), Shyla Heal (Townsville Fire), Tess Madgen (Melbourne Boomers), Sara Blicavs (Southside Flyers), Ezi Magbegor (Melbourne Boomers)

Apparently, no-one qualified for Referee of the Year.

Dec 14

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