WITH no basketball on for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look at the brighter side of the sport that brought plenty of memories throughout the 2019/20 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season. Over the next couple of weeks we will countdown Draft Central‘s Top 10 memorable moments from the season. Some are individual events, others are season views, and even a couple are decisions that panned out for the better. Today we continue with number four, which looks at Kia Nurse‘s remarkable second season for the back-to-back premiers, University of Canberra (UC) Capitals.
#4 Kia Nurse wins MVP after sensational season
In what was her second season returning to the UC Capitals after a strong first season teaming up with 2018/19 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kelsey Griffin in Canberra, Nurse produced some of the best basketball there was to see from an offensive standpoint. Clearly the premier shooter in the competition, her luggage on the way back to Canada would have been significantly heavier than when she arrived. In 2019/20, Nurse picked up the Suzy Batkovic Medal (League MVP), UC Capitals’ Most Valuable Player (MVP), a place in the WNBL All-Star First Team, and of course her championship medal.
In winning the Suzy Batkovic Medal, Nurse became the first import in history to win the honour, polling six more votes than Adelaide Lightning’s Brianna Turner in the award. Playing in the WNBL during the WNBA off-season, the 23-year-old averaged 21.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals throughout the season. She shot from three-point range at a 33 per cent accuracy, but it was her final three-pointer of the season that counted. With 22 seconds left in Game Two of the Grand Final Series, Nurse drained a triple to win her side the 2019/20 title. While Olivia Epoupa was a deserving Finals MVP, Nurse was the reliable scorer throughout the season and a key player for the team.
In departing the club to head back to the WNBA, Nurse told the UC Capitals’ fans that she had loved the atmosphere in Canberra and the support she had received over the past two seasons.
“People tell me I play a very flashy game,” she said. “I was never flashy until I got here. I didn’t play with the swagger and confidence until I got here, and I just continued to grow and that made a difference when I went back to the WNBA last.”
Unfortunately for the Capitals, Nurse will not return to the side citing business opportunities in North America. She thanked the fans and looked forward to tracking how the team went in future years.
Top 10 WNBL 2019/20 moments countdown so far:
#10 – Ezi Magbegor wins second Rookie of the Year award
#9 – Bendigo Spirit breaks road drought
#8 – Mercedes Russell stars in debut season
#7 – Southside’s flying first season
#6 – Back-to-back overtime victories shape finals series
#5 – Southside Flyers’ road win against UC Capitals
#4 – Kia Nurse wins MVP after sensational season