Flames’ MVP award motivates Willoughby to reach even greater heights

February 24, 2023 | Sydney Flames news

The WNBL23 season has thrown many challenges at Jocelyn Willoughby from moving outside the United States for the first time to adjusting to life in Sydney – all while still recovering from an Achilles injury.

But the New Jersey product has taken it all in her stride and then some, so much so, she took out the Sydney Flames MVP award at Tuesday’s Hoops Capital presentation evening at The Waterview.

“Winning the club MVP award is a great honour and I am incredibly grateful for the recognition,” said Willoughby, who is averaging 14.9 points, 3.8 boards and 3.2 dimes this campaign.


“Some may not realise, I mean at times I even have to take some perspective and remind myself, that this is my first full season played since coming back from injury.

“The comeback process comes with periods of frustration and wavering confidence as you work to get yourself back to your old form and then even better.

“So in some respects, the club’s MVP award represents the confidence that the club – coaches, teammates and management has in me – and a confidence that I’m continuing to rediscover in myself.

“At the same time, the award is motivation. I pride myself on being a hard worker, a good teammate, a professional (in terms of how I carry myself and approach my work), and someone who makes a positive impact or adds value to whatever environment I’m in.

“So as I look at this award, I feel even more motivated to make sure that every day I am continuing to put in the work and that I embody the values/standards that are reflective of an MVP.”

Reflecting even further, the WNBA star with the New York Liberty has thoroughly enjoyed her debut season in the WNBL and with the Hoops Capital club.

“I’ve enjoyed my first year in the WNBL – it’s been a valuable learning experience and opportunity to grow,” the 24-year-old said.

“I feel like this season I’ve gotten a lot more confident and comfortable with my midrange game, being able to pull up for a shot or draw the defence and make a play for my teammate.


“Yet the area I feel that I’ve grown the most in isn’t necessarily one that’s reflected directly in the stat sheet.

“I feel like my ‘smarts’ – my feel and understanding for the game – has improved a lot.

“This season I’ve been fortunate to be in a position where I am more of ball handler and decision maker and that’s forced me to be a smarter player to determine how to make a possession the most effective possible for my team.”

Willoughby and her harbour city side return to the court on Friday for their final home game of WNBL23, where they’ll host Adelaide during the club’s first-ever Pink Game at Quaycentre- with tickets for the 7pm clash still available here.