Adelaide Lightning and Jayco Opals star Suzy Batkovic has been named the 2012 Women’s National Basketball League Most Valuable Player on a night of celebration for the women’s game at the Basketball Australia iiNet MVP at Crown Palladium in Melbourne.
The 192cm centre was the dominant player of the competition, leading the league in scoring, steals and rebounds to help her Adelaide team to a WNBL preliminary final berth.
A delighted Batkovic said it was an honour to be voted MVP and to join the illustrious company of the past winners.
“It’s a real honour to win this award,” Batkovic said.
“While the season didn’t end the way we would have liked for Adelaide, the move to South Australia has been really good for me.”
The 31-year-old made the move to Adelaide in the off-season after injury curtailed her 2010/11 campaign with Canberra, leading the way for her new team with 24.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.
WNBL Grand Final MVP Kath MacLeod from the Dandenong Rangers finished second on the back of a career-best season, with Townsville Fire’s American import Shanavia Dowdell third ahead of Bulleen Boomer and reigning WNBL MVP Liz Cambage.
Batkovic said while the season ended in disappointment for her Adelaide side, beaten by Dandenong in the WNBL preliminary final, it was a positive campaign on a personal front.
“I had a pretty good season and one of my goals was to be as consistent as possible, minus the injury, I was able to get that done,” Batkovic said.
Batkovic and MacLeod led the WNBL All Star Five Team, joined by Sydney Uni Flames star Belinda Snell and three others in an historic moment.
The trio of Dowdell, and Bulleen Boomers duo Rachel Jarry and Sam Richards finished with the same amount of votes meaning six players would make the WNBL All Star Five for the very first time.
Sydney Uni Flames and Jayco Opals veteran Alicia Poto claimed her second Robyn Maher WNBL Defensive Player of the Year honour after making a successful return from Europe.
The AIS continued its fine tradition of producing high-quality young players with Carley Mijovic the recipient of the Betty Watson WNBL Rookie of the Year award after a stellar season that saw the 196cm 17-year-old average 9.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
It was a double celebration for Adelaide as Peter Buckle was named WNBL Coach of the Year for his amazing transformation of the Lightning from a 3-win to 18-win team.
WNBL Grand Final official Daniel Banik was named WNBL Referee of the Year.