Cayla George Named MVP at WNBL Awards Night
The Cygnett Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Awards Night celebrated the competition’s best performers on Sunday evening, with Cayla George claiming the Suzy Batkovic Medal as the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Held at Marvel stadium and presented by Foot Locker with sports chic as the theme. Our WNBL stars rocked the Orange Carpet in their best fits before the formalities of the evening got underway. Southside’s Bec Cole was amongst the best dressed for the night.
- Suzy Batkovic Medal (League MVP): Cayla George (Deakin Melbourne Boomers)
- Coach of the Year: Shannon Seebohm (Townsville Fire)
- Betty Watson Breakout Player of the Year: Isobel Borlase (Adelaide Lightning)
- Sixth Woman of the Year: Isobel Borlase (Adelaide Lightning)
- Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year: Stephanie Talbot (Adelaide Lightning)
- Community Award: Stephanie Reid (Townsville Fire)
All WNBL First Team:
- Cayla George (Deakin Melbourne Boomers)
- Sami Whitcomb (Perth Lynx)
- Tianna Hawkins (JCU Townsville Fire)
- Kristy Wallace (Deakin Melbourne Boomers)
- Kayla Thornton (Jacyco Southside Flyers)
All WNBL Second Team:
- Jade Melbourne (UC Capitals)
- Tiffany Mitchell (Deakin Melbourne Boomers)
- Lauren Nicholson (JCU Townsville Fire)
- Steph Talbot (Adelaide Lightning)
- Lauren Scherf (Perth Lynx)
George claimed top honours following a stellar 2022-23 season with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers, leading the league in rebounding and finishing as the second-highest scorer.
The MVP achievement caps off a successful 12 months for George, who claimed the 21-22 Championship with the Boomers, led the Opals to a bronze medal finish at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup on home soil, welcomed the birth of her first child Pearl, and signed a new WNBA contract with the Las Vegas Aces.
On winning the prestigious MVP honours after 15 seasons in the WNBL, George said:
“It’s pretty overwhelming if I’m being honest, I might cry right now,” said George. “Becoming a mum has been the best thing ever. But like I said on stage, I credit this win to my daughter Pearl.
“She’s given me perspective and a new mentality, I don’t have time to overthink about my performance. I love seeing her in the stands in a purple jersey, it makes so happy. And now Finals time is anyone’s time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they play out.”
The evening also saw Shannon Seebohm of the JCU Townsville Fire named Coach of the Year and 18-year-old, Isobel Borlase, of the Adelaide Lightning take home both the Betty Watson Breakout Player of the Year and the Sixth Woman of the Year awards in just her first season as a contracted WNBL player.
Seebohm collected his third WNBL Coach of the Year award after the Fire secured the Minor Premiership on Wednesday evening – along with a 12-game winning streak leading into the Finals.
A humble Seebohm was honoured by the recognition and credited the state of women’s basketball in Australia.
“It’s a great honour to receive the award. It’s obviously not why I coach, but it’s always nice to be recognised. I think it says a lot about the talented groups I’ve been blessed to coach and I hope the Fire can make a good run into Finals.”
“Women’s basketball has been a great place for a number of years,” added Seebohm. “Seeing the young players like Isobel Borlase, Shyla Heal and Jade Melbourne playing well and veterans like Cayla George playing the basketball of her like – we’re in a great position.”
Internationally known as a defensive powerhouse, Talbot’s form was clearly felt by the WNBL as she won her second Best Defensive Player award by more than 10 votes. Stephanie Reid of the Townsville Fire won the Golden Hands Award for her outstanding playmaking abilities.
The first and second WNBL teams featured the season’s top-performing players as voted by coaches and captains. Past winners are available to reference here, while a full breakdown of the awards, including selection criteria is available here.
The Cygnett WNBL Awards Night was a fantastic celebration of a high-quality 43rd season and the strength of Australia’s elite competition. The Finals action commences on Wednesday 8 March, when Southside Flyers (2nd) face Melbourne Boomers (3rd) for the first semi-finals game.