Adelaide Lightning captain Steph Talbot has upstaged Southside Flyers superstar Liz Cambage to win the 2020 WNBL MVP award.
Many experts expected Cambage to claim the trophy following a dominant season with the Flyers, but Talbot shocked everyone to walk away with the honours.
Adelaide didn’t make the finals, but their skipper was simply sensational this season.
Talbot carried the Lightning, scoring a whopping 237 points and shooting 47.9 per cent from the field in her 13 games.
Throw in 117 rebounds, 39 assists, 27 steals and 10 blocks, and it’s easy to see why the Adelaide captain picked up the league’s most valuable player.
WNBL MVP Steph Talbot. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Cambage could be considered unlucky given her standout season in her first Australian campaign since also starring for the Melbourne Boomers in 2017/2018.
As the Flyers star player, she leads the league in points scored (24.1) and blocks (2.0), while she is ranked fifth in total rebounds (8.2).
The Opals centre has previously claimed the WNBL MVP award playing with the Bulleen Boomers back in 2011.
And according to Australian basketball legend Shane Heal, Cambage should have been a lock to win the MVP.
“You can’t go past Liz,” Heal said on the Basketball Show.
“She is averaging 22 points a game and nine rebounds in 22 minutes.
“You multiply that out and she is averaging like 40 and 18 almost.
“It is unbelievable stats, and she is doing it however she wants.”
Townsville Fire guard Lauren Nicholson was also considered unlucky not to win the MVP after steering the Fire to second place on the ladder after the regular season.
Nicholson has scored 240 points, including shooting 48.1 per cent from the field, in her 13 games to date.
In the end, though, Talbot rose above the pack to win the WNBL’s most coveted award in recognition for a starring season.
Liz Cambage was in many eyes the favourite for the award. Picture: Brendan RadkeSource:News Corp Australia
She also deserves praise for her leadership during a difficult season for Adelaide after the players were forced into six days of quarantine following South Australia’s COVID-19 outbreak back in November.
At the time, Talbot questioned why the Lightning were forced into quarantine in Townsville but revealed how team fitness sessions and FaceTime calls were keeping the side sane as they plotted a return to the competition.
Adelaide was confined to their accommodation when the Queensland government advised that anyone who had entered the state from South Australia on or after Monday, November 9 must self-isolate until they had been tested for COVID-19.
The Lightning travelling party departed Adelaide at 6.10am (local) on Monday, November 9 on a direct flight to Brisbane.
“We were at the airport at 5am on that Monday morning, so we hadn’t come into contact with anyone,” Talbot said.
“We slept all night and went straight to the airport, but we just missed the cut-off.
“We are OK now, but it just doesn’t really make a lot of sense the way that they are doing it, but you have got to do what you have got to do, I guess.”
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