NBL1 West Players of the Week – Round 11

THERE were some massive numbers posted in Round 11 of the National Basketball (NBL)1 West competition, which took place over the weekend.

With finals now just seven weeks away, the race for the finals is getting tighter by the week, with most sides still in contention for a postseason appearance as the competition remains balanced across the board.

Although the NBL1 West has some big names, it was the some unheralded performers that broke onto the scene with some of the best individual outings we have seen from any state throughout the 2024 season.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at the standout performances from both divisions, after some big numbers were posted over the weekend. This time, it was Marek Nelson and Natalie Chou were far and away the best players in a stacked round of action.

Marek Nelson (Eastern Suns) vs. Warwick Senators

37 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five steals, one block

Nelson was simply outstanding for Eastern, leading the Suns to a tight five-point win over the Senators when the two sides went head to head at Herb Graham Recreation Centre on Friday night.

It was one of the most thrilling encounters of the NBL1 West Men’s season to date, with the Suns breaking out to a nine-point lead in the first half. However, the Senators fought back in the second half to make it interesting with just minutes remaining, but Eastern executed late to hold on for a 97-92 win.

Nelson proved the difference for the Suns, taking over the match and showing his class with a tremendous performance.

He was the game’s top scorer with 37 points for the match, proving efficient from the field by shooting 13/19 from the field. Nelson was able to score across all three levels with five makes from behind the arc combining well with his ability to finish at the rim.

He recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds, and was the only player to record double-digits in this category after securing the ball following an opposition miss on nine occasions.

Defensively, Nelson maintained active hands and poked the ball free from the opposition’s grasp five times, creating several transition scores with his ability to read the play.

In an important win for the Suns, Nelson was immense, and got his side over the line with an enormous impact on the match.

Natalie Chou (Perth Redbacks) vs. East Perth Eagles

20 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, 14 steals

It is difficult to find a better statline from the 2024 NBL1 West season than what Chou produced in Perth’s 43-point win over the Eagles at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre on Friday night.

The Redbacks got off to an ideal start with 32-18 opening term, and only built from there, proving far too good for the home side. Perth won three of the four quarters by double digits and never relented to let the Eagles back in the contest, eventually emerging 108-65.

Chou was a dominant force on both sides of the ball, making life difficult for the opposition in more than one sense of the word.

She was solid as a scorer, shooting 8/20 from the field to pour in 20 points for the match, creating space to get to her spots and punish the opposition with some excellent separation. From behind the arc, she showed no hesitation to fire off three pointers in transition, which helped her side get off to a strong start in the first quarter.

On the glass, Chou was as solid as anyone, playing above her height and proving damaging on the offensive end, crashing the boards with pace and intent and ripping the ball from anyone else’s grasp.

Far and away the most impressive facet of her performance was the sheer number of steals she produced. Chou was everywhere, proving a defensive menace and forcing the opposition into countless turnovers. Her 14 steals is a season-high figure for any player in the NBL1 West, and showed how dominant she was.

Chou delivered a breakout showing at NBL1 level, starring for Perth and showing her two-way potential as a player.

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