Suzy Batkovic has been named the 2015/16 Wattle Valley WNBL Most Valuable Player after another dominant season in the front court for the JCU Townsville Fire.
Following a three-peat of MVP awards from 2012-14, Batkovic has made history with her fourth award, equalling Lauren Jackson in first place on the all-time WNBL MVP list.
“I’m still a little taken aback but also pretty excited,” said Batkovic.
“I’m just surprised I guess. [Jackson] is obviously one of the best basketballers in the world. Growing up and playing with her in Olympics and WNBL as well as representing NSW, we’ve done a lot together.”
Paul Maley, General Manager of WNBL and Competitions, further explained the significance of Batkovic and Jackson’s long time involvement in the WNBL.
“Lauren is one of the world’s best ever players; the fact that she played so many seasons in the WNBL speaks volumes for the quality of the league.
“The same goes for Suzy; there is no doubt that she could have made more money playing elsewhere. Whilst there is an obvious draw to ‘being home,’ I’m certain she wouldn’t sacrifice so much in earnings were it not for the fact that the standard of the WNBL is so elite.”
Following two Player of the Week and two Player of the Month awards, eight Team of the Week nominations and a spot in the All-Star five at the centre position, Batkovic has capped a season of personal accomplishments.
All that remains now for the Townsville veteran is to win a Championship and an MVP in the same season, a feat she can accomplish this weekend in Game 2 on Friday night or Game 3 if necessary on Sunday.
Batkovic received 120 votes, four more than second-placed Katie-Rae Ebzery of the Sydney Uni Flames while Sami Whitcomb of the Perth Lynx (106 votes), Kelsey Griffin of the Bendigo Spirit (89 votes) and Adelaide Lightning’s Leilani Mitchell (85 votes) rounded out the top five.
The most dominant scorer in the league in 2015/16, Batkovic averaged a competition best 20.8 points, 8.4 rebounds (seventh best in the league) and 1.3 blocks (third) through the regular season.
However, the centre’s focus is firmly set on winning the Championship this weekend with the Fire aiming to go back-to-back.
”We’d like to close it at home and win the Championship in front of our home crowd. We have worked really hard this week and we’re going to go in and give it everything. We’ve watched the video [of Game 1] and have seen what we can improve on, so we’re really looking forward to the hit out.”
Game 2 of the WNBL 2015/16 Grand Final series between Townsville and Perth is a sell-out. The match can be viewed via a live stream on the WNBL YouTube channel from 7pm AEST this Friday night here: http://bit.ly/1WoVeri
The 2015/16 WNBL MVP Top 10:
Suzy Batkovic: 120 votes
Katie-Rae Ebzery: 116 votes
Sami Whitcomb: 106 votes
Kelsey Griffin: 89 votes
Leilani Mitchell: 85 votes
Steph Cumming: 73 votes
Cayla George: 69 votes
Lauren Mansfield: 66 votes
Betnijah Laney: 58 votes
Sara Blicavs: 56 votes