Some of the Women’s National Basketball League’s most knowledgeable observers believe Adelaide Lightning star Suzy Batkovic will head into Monday night’s Basketball Australia iiNet MVP as favourite for the 2012 WNBL MVP.
Coming off a season that saw her lead all comers in scoring (24.3 points per game), rebounding (10.9) and steals (2.5), Batkovic is considered by the learned to be the standout candidate for the league’s highest individual honour.
Leading the call is ABC TV commentator and two-time WNBL MVP with Adelaide, Rachael Sporn, who praised the impact of Batkovic in the South Australian team’s remarkable season.
“Suzy had a massive impact on the team,” Sporn said.
“She was like a steam train and everyone jumped on board.
“When they started to hit their straps around Round Five and went on that winning streak, Suzy was instrumental in a lot of those wins, giving her teammates a lot of confidence.”
Sporn’s ABC TV colleague Darren Boyd echoed these sentiments, but also believes there are several other stars capable of challenging the Adelaide centre.
“For me the test of the MVP is you think about who stands out and this season Suzy Batkovic has been unbelievable,” Boyd said.
“She has dominated so many games like few other individuals.
“However, I think about Kathleen MacLeod (Dandenong Rangers) and Samantha Richards (Bulleen Boomers) and how much I’ve enjoyed going to games to watch them play this season.
“They are a class above and have that ability to take over a game from the point guard position.”
WNBL Radio commentator and former Bulleen and Dandenong legend Larissa Anderson spoke in glowing terms of the Lightning star, but would not discount MacLeod’s chances.
“Suzy was a standout,” Anderson said.
“She lifted her rebound, assists and steals, as well as her scoring to become a better all-round player and deserves to be favourite for the MVP.
“But Kath MacLeod had a fantastic season, not just in the Grand Final, but especially when Dandenong were a bit shaky early on.”
‘The MVP’ awards ceremony will see the elite of Australia’s basketball family in attendance as the annual awards for both the National Basketball League and Women’s National Basketball League are presented in a combined ceremony at the esteemed Palladium Room at Crown Casino in Melbourne on Monday 26 March.
Fans can watch a livestream of the event at http://freezone.iinet.net.au/channels/freezone/sport/basketball/nbl-mvp.