O Canada; Boomers guard wins top gong

AFTER leading her side to a finals berth for the 2023/24 season, Melbourne Boomers star Jordin Canada claimed the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL)’s highest individual honour, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

At the competition’s awards event on Monday night, the WNBL’s best performers from the season were recognised after an extremely competitive fixture from Australia’s premier basketball league.

Canada was awarded the Suzy Batkovic Medal, having produced an outstanding season as the leader of Melbourne’s offence, and played an extremely important role in the team securing the third spot in the standings heading into the postseason.

There was plenty of hype surrounding her landing in the WNBL, having established herself as one of the big guns of the WNBA in recent seasons. She was always going to be one of the biggest frontrunners for the Suzy Batkovic Medal, but got some tough competition from new L.A. Sparks Teammate and Perth Wildcats gun Aari McDonald.

However, McDonald went down with injury mid-season, essentially locking in Canada as the WNBL’s MVP.

She performed strongly in nearly all key statistical categories, posting averages of 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 3.1 steals per game, with the last two league-high figures.

Not only was she extremely consistent (after brushing off the cobwebs in the opening rounds in a shaky start to her time in Australia), Canada was also an outstanding performer in big moments for the Boomers.

The Boomers suffered injuries to key players over the course of the season, and looked in real danger of dropping out of the finals race due to a lack of key personnel. However, Canada kept them afloat, and drove the team to some unlikely wins and a spot inside the top-four come season’s end.

When Melbourne needed to win in the final round to secure third spot, the star guard knocked down basket after basket in the fourth quarter, and sank the game-winning free throws to ensured the Boomers locked in a matchup against the Southside Flyers, who slid to second spot behind the Townsville Fire.

Speaking of the Fire, head coach Shannon Seebohm snagged the Coach of the Year award, while Alex Sharp was awarded the Betty Watson Breakout Player of the Year. Sydney FlamesLauren Nicholson was rewarded for her lockdown efforts this season with the Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year, and Leilani Mitchell had a major impact off the bench and was named the Sixth Woman of the Year.

WNBL Award Winners

Suzy Batkovic Medal (MVP): Jordin Canada (Melbourne Boomers)

Fan MVP: Jade Melbourne (UC Capitals)

Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year: Lauren Nicholson (Sydney Flames)

Sixth Woman of the Year: Leilani Mitchell (Southside Flyers)

Coach of the Year: Shannon Seebohm (Townsville Fire)

Betty Watson Breakout Player of the Year: Alex Sharp (UC Capitals)

All-WNBL First Team

Jordin Canada (Melbourne Boomers)

Jade Melbourne (UC Capitals)

Lauren Nicholson (Sydney Flames)

Isobel Borlase (Adelaide Lightning)

Mercedes Russell (Southside Flyers)

All-WNBL Second Team

Sami Whitcomb (Townsville Fire)

Naz Hillmon (Melbourne Boomers)

Amy Atwell (Perth Lynx)

Aari McDonald (Perth Lynx)

Didi Richards (Sydney Flames)

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