Young gun spotlight: WNBL – Round 8

TAHLIA Tupaea played a huge role in Sydney Uni’s first win of the year, while Nia Coffey led the way in her side’s surge back up the ladder. Zitina Aokuso stepped up to the plate in place of an injured Suzy Batkovic, while Lindsay Allen and Brittany McPhee continued their consistent seasons.

 

#4 Tahlia Tupaea- Sydney Uni Flames

In a massive 85-64 win, Tupaea was one of four players who scored in double figures. She was the second highest scorer in the team, and the third highest on the court, playing a breakout game in her side’s first victory of the season. Tupaea put up 16 points, grabbed three boards and dished off six assists. She recorded the second highest assists on the court, falling just one assist behind Brittany Smart, highlighting Tupaea’s ability to get her teammates involved as well as stuffing the stat sheet herself. She spent the fourth most minutes on the court out of any player, playing 30 minutes of quality basketball.

#12 Nia Coffey- Adelaide Lightning

It was a big weekend for the Lightning, who won both of their games in Round 8. One player who always delivers in big moments is Nia Coffey, and this week was no different as she played a massive role in both of Adelaide’s victories. Despite grabbing just the one rebound against Dandenong, she found a way to step up on the scoreboard, putting up a team-high 18 points. This was an extremely efficient performance by her, as she only spent 18 minutes on the court, generating a point per minute to gift her side with a six-point win away from home. She played the third least amount of game time for Adelaide, but still dominated, highlighting her rare talent. She backed up this performance on Sunday with a better all-round performance, racking up 10 points, three rebounds and two assists. Despite not being as dominant as she was against the Rangers, she was still able to make an impact for her side.

#12 Zitina Aokuso- Townsville Fire

In Townsville’s massive win over Bendigo, Aokuso managed nine minutes of game time. Despite being starved of minutes, she made the most of it, scoring nine points to achieve a scoring rate of one point per minute. The Fire centre was also able to pull down three boards in her game time. She was thrown into the deep end against the Boomers, having to step up in Suzy Batkovic’s place, as her persisting neck injury got the better of her. Aokuso delivered on the big stage, making the most of her extra 11 minutes of game time. She ended up with an impressive double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards. Aukuso was the only player to grab double-figure rebounds and score a double-double, highlighting what she can do with more game time.

#15 Lindsay Allen- Melbourne Boomers

Allen had a quiet game against the Fire by her lofty standards, but still continues to make an impact with her clean skills on the court. From 29 minutes of court time, she scored 11 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished off five assists. She was only one assist behind Cayla George, who recorded a game-high six assists. Despite the quiet game, Allen is still averaging the fourth most points in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), with 18.15 per game. She is also averaging the second most assists in the league, thanks to her average boosting on the weekend. Currently, she’s averaging 5.31 assists per game, with Kelly Wilson leading the way on 6.6.

#24 Brittany McPhee- Perth Lynx

Like Lindsay Allen, McPhee also had a quiet game, but still played an important role in her side’s season-defining win over the UC Capitals. She scored 11 points and complemented this with nine rebounds and five assists. Although McPhee was down on scoring with fourth most points for Perth, she led the way in rebounds, with her and Asia Taylor pulling down nine boards a piece. The Perth guard has been remarkable in the rebounding department this season and she showed it once again in this game, leading the way alongside an esteemed forward in Taylor. McPhee is averaging 6.9 rebounds per game, which is the highest average of any guard so far this season.

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