IT was a big round for the young guns in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), with all the regular contributors standing out once again. Sydney Uni’s Tahlia Tupaea continues to get a lot of game time, while Lindsay Allen keeps racking up the points for the Boomers. Nia Coffey has been a big reason behind Adelaide’s resurgence, while Abbey Wehrung and Zitina Aokuso have been shining lights in their struggling teams.
#4 Tahlia Tupaea- Sydney Uni Flames
In a dour night for the Sydney Uni Flames, Tupaea was one of only three players to score double figures against Adelaide. The 21 year-old ended with 21 points and five rebounds from 36 minutes of court time. She racked up the highest amount of points for the game and backed it up with the second highest amount of rebounds for her team, finishing just two behind Amanda Johnson. Against the Rangers, Tupaea was one of four players who scored in double figures, ending with 12 points. Despite not having the profound influence as she did on Friday night, Tupaea made her influence felt around the court with eight rebounds and five assists. She got an equal team-high amount of assists, and again finished second in the team’s rebound count. What was perhaps most impressive was that Tupaea played the whole 40 minutes without rest against Dandenong.
#12 Nia Coffey- Adelaide Lightning
Coffey featured in 22 minutes of game time against the Sydney Uni Flames on Friday night. She came so close to a double-double, scoring 12 points and nine rebounds. Coffey also racked up four assists – equalling the highest amount of assists in the Adelaide line-up. She also equalled the highest amount of rebounds for her team, with Colleen Planeta also securing nine boards.
#12 Zitina Aokuso- Townsville Fire
Despite only playing 21 minutes, Aokuso scored the second highest amount of points for her team. The star centre scored 15 points and backed it up with five rebounds against the Dandenong Rangers. In a tight loss, Aokuso finished equal second in team rebounds, with Darcee Garbin leading the way on eight.
#13 Abbey Wehrung- Bendigo Spirit
In a tough outing for the Bendigo Spirit, Wehrung competed hard. From nearly 30 minutes of game time, she ended with nine points, two rebounds and two assists. It may not sound like a lot, but to put her numbers into perspective, the highest points scorers for Bendigo were Nat Hurst, Marena Whittle and Rebecca Tobin – three superstars who were only held to 12 points by the Capitals. The Spirit’s next match was a much tighter tussle, only going down by two points to one of the championship favourites in the Perth Lynx. In the match, Wehrung was the team’s equal highest points scorer, ending on 15. She again backed this up with two rebounds and two assists, this time from 32 minutes of game time.
#15 Lindsay Allen- Melbourne Boomers
In a narrow five-point win over the Lynx, Allen was pivotal yet again for the Boomers, as she has been all season. She top-scored for her team with 13 points, and also led the way in assists for the game with seven. On the boards, Allen was also solid, pulling down two rebounds. She played the second highest amount of minutes for the Boomers, featuring in nearly 32 minutes of the game.
#24 Brittany McPhee- Perth Lynx
McPhee was a huge reason why the Lynx nearly snatched victory from the hands of the Boomers on Friday night. She top-scored for the match with 15 points, with the next best scorers, Asia Taylor and Alison Schwagmeyer, each putting up 11 points. McPhee also led the way in rebounds, amassing 10 of them for the game, equalling Kalani Purcell’s efforts for the Boomers in that department. From just under 29 minutes of game time, McPhee managed to rack up a double-double, proving her value in the Lynx line-up. Surprisingly, she was held extremely well in check by the Spirit, failing to score a point in her 21 minutes on court. However, McPhee was dominant on the boards, pulling down an equal game-high eight rebounds. Her quiet influence was certainly felt by the Lynx, as they only scraped over the line against the struggling Spirit by two points.