January 12, 2018 | WNBL news

Kayla Pedersen has completed a successful return to the Jayco Dandenong Rangers in the 2017/18 season to earn the Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year award.

Voted by coaches and captains at the end of the regular season, Pedersen received 25 votes out of a possible 42 by playing a tireless and unrelenting defensive role in the front court for the Rangers all season.

Pedersen played one year for the Rangers back in 2013/14 but in 2017/18, she doubled her steals average from her debut season while also increasing her rebound numbers to almost nine per game.

In the face of mounting injuries to several team mates, Pedersen was tasked with battling the top forwards in the competition week in and week out but her uncompromising work at the defensive end of the floor helped Dandenong to the third best defence overall.

They gave up 72 points per game, four below the competition average and the Rangers also finished third for steals, thanks in large part to Pedersen who tallied 28 for the season to sit inside the top ten for the league.

Her season-high of five steals came against Sydney Uni in Round 11, a night in which she also added ten points, four rebounds and five assists and she notched at least two steals in a game on seven occasions.

Pedersen played every match in 2017/18 and her work on the glass was just as crucial for Dandenong, finishing seventh in the competition for rebounds with 8.4 per game while recording five double-doubles overall.

Her 176 total boards were over 40 more than any other Rangers player and it placed her sixth in the league while she also finished seventh overall for defensive carroms and second for offensive rebounds.

“Kayla has definitely worked extremely hard defensively all year and this award is so well deserved,” said Trish Fallon, Dandenong Elite Teams Manager.

Pedersen has become just the third import to win the Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year award following Kim Foley of the Hobart Islanders in 1991 and Bendigo’s Kelsey Griffin in 2015.

2017/18 Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year Votes:

  1. Kayla Pedersen (25 votes) Dandenong Rangers
  2. Sami Whitcomb (18 votes) Perth Lynx
  3. Jennifer Hamson (14 votes) Sydney Uni Flames

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