WNBL Player Stats – Round 1: Townsville starts with a bang

THE Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) has returned for another season, with the competition set for its closest season ever.

With a strong mix of local talent and imports, there are a lot of individuals to keep an eye on over the course of the season, as the league continues to grow in quality and popularity, after a gradual build over the last few years.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at key statistical categories from an individual perspective, as the cream rises to the top as the season rolls on, and the big names look to dominate and push their respective teams onwards and upwards.

Points per game

Lauren Nicholson (Townsville Fire) – 35
Tiffany Mitchell (Melbourne Boomers) – 32
Isabel Borlase (Adelaide Lightning) – 25
Kristy Wallace (Melbourne Boomers) – 24
Cayla George (Melbourne Boomers)/Kayla Thornton (Southside Flyers) – 21

Nicholson started the season with a blistering offensive showing, producing a whopping 35-point performance in Townsville’s 36-point drubbing of the Capitals. 13 of her 18 attempts from the field were good, but it was her shooting from downtown that gave her score a massive boost. She shot 6/9 from three-point territory, and could not have started her 2022/23 campaign any better. Mitchell’s opening game was much of the same, not afraid to put up an attempt, with 26 shots next to her name with a 50 per cent success rate. Her ruthless attack inside the paint proved to be Mitchell’s bread and butter, constantly pushing the pace and exposing the interior defence. Borlase was the biggest surprise of the round, shooting 10/12 in her first match for the Lightning, with the 18-year-old giving Adelaide fans plenty to be excited about.

Tiffany Mitchell of the Melbourne Boomers puts up a shot.
Tiffany Mitchell was dominant as a scorer and playmaker. Photo: Melbourne Boomers

Rebounds per game

Tianna Hawkins (Townsville Fire) – 12
Dekeiya Cohen (UC Capitals) – 11.5
Cayla George (Melbourne Boomers)/Anneli Maley (Bendigo Spirit) – 10
Lauren Scherf (Perth Lynx) – 9.5
Isabel Borlase (Adelaide Lightning)/Mikaela Ruef (Townsville Fire) – 9

Hawkins and Ruef combined for a whopping 21 boards in Townsville’s win on the weekend. With the Capitals shooting just 38 per cent from the field, the duo feasted in the skies, pulling down miss after miss and boxing out the UC bigs to perfection. Cohen fought valiantly in a pair of losses, snatching 23 rebounds over the course of two games in her first matches in the WNBL, while George and Maley have proven themselves by now as dominant rebounders, and Scherf looks to be thriving with added responsibility for the Lynx this season.

Lauren Scherf of the Perth Lynx celebrates her side's win.
Lauren Scherf had a pair of impressive rebounding performances. Photo: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

Assists per game

Stephanie Reid (Townsville Fire) – 14
Tiffany Mitchell (Melbourne Boomers) – 9
Maddison Rocci (Southside Flyers)/Kelly Wilson (Bendigo Spirit) – 7
Rebecca Cole (Southside Flyers) – 6
Marena Whittle (Adelaide Lightning) – 5

Reid was the playmaker of the round in the opening week, producing five more assists than the next best. The Fire lead in all three key categories, emphasising their dominance in the big win over the Capitals. Reid’s teammates reaped the rewards of her high IQ and execution, with Nicholson the big beneficiary on her way to a round-high total. Mitchell proved she is just as capable at passing as she is at scoring, thriving in being the team’s dominant ball handler and delivering an outstanding all-around performance.

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