UC Capitals star Kia Nurse has etched her way into the Chemist Warehouse WNBL record books as the first import to win the Suzy Batkovic Medal for the league’s Most Valuable Player.
The Canadian guard, who turns 24 next week, in just her second WNBL season polled 94 votes to win over Adelaide Lightning’s first-year star import Brianna Turner (88 votes) and a trio of Australian Opals – Melbourne Boomers co-captain Cayla George (70 ), Perth Lynx guard Katie-Rae Ebzery (69) and Adelaide’s Steph Talbot (65) – rounding out the Top 5.
Each coach and referee awarded 3,2 and 1 votes after every regular-season game. The maximum votes a player can receive in a game is 9, which Nurse earned on five occasions in #WNBL20.
A rising WNBA star with the New York Liberty, Nurse was the WNBL’s leading scorer this season, averaging 21.3 points per game plus 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists. She scored in double figures in every game, producing a WNBL career-best 33 points against the Southside Flyers in Round 14, while claiming multiple Player and Team of the Week accolades.
Fresh from helping her country qualify for the Tokyo Olympics this week, Nurse said she was honoured to join the elite company of MVP winners including Batkovic, Liz Cambage, Rachael Sporn and Caps teammate Kelsey Griffin.
“I’m shocked but honoured and very grateful, this is a big testament to my Capitals teammates and coach Paul Gorris. I love them, and I love playing for Canberra,’’ said Nurse.
“I’m very, very fortunate to play in an incredible league here in the WNBL, which I brag about it to all my friends.
“To be the first import to win the WNBL MVP is a testament to the talent here in Australia and was a big reason why it was a great league for me to come to. It’s what makes the WNBL so great and why it’s continued to get better and better every year.”
Basketball Australia’s head of women in basketball Lauren Jackson, a four-time league MVP winner herself, congratulated Nurse on her history-making accolade.
“I’m incredibly proud of Kia and so happy she is the first import to win the Suzy Batkovic Medal for the Chemist Warehouse WNBL’s Most Valuable Player,’’ she said.
“Kia brings so much to our league and has been in a class of her own this season, the 40th season anniversary of the WNBL. It’s been an absolute pleasure watching her make an impact for the UC Capitals and on the league the way she has.”
Jackson will present Nurse with the Suzy Batkovic Medal in a special ceremony before Sunday’s opening game of the semi-final series between the Capitals and Boomers at AIS Arena.
The Chemist Warehouse WNBL last year celebrated seven-time MVP winner and league legend Suzy Batkovic by naming the medal in her honour.
MVP TOP 10 PLAYERS
|First Name||Surname||Team Name||Total Votes|
|Alice||Kunek||Sydney Uni Flames||55|