Talbot edges Cambage for WNBL MVP

Adelaide skipper Steph Talbot (l) has been named the WNBL MVP award winner.
Adelaide skipper Steph Talbot (l) has been named the WNBL MVP award winner.

Adelaide captain Steph Talbot has defied a mid-tournament team quarantine to pip superstar Liz Cambage for WNBL MVP honours.

The Lightning leader also won defensive player of the year and was named in the All-WNBL First Team at the ceremony in Townsville on Monday.

A COVID-19 outbreak in their home state forced Talbot's side off the court and into hotel quarantine after competition had already commenced in their north Queensland hub.

They resumed the tournament to finish with a 5-8 record in sixth to miss the semi-finals, which begin on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old tallied 73 votes across a revised 13-game season to win the Suzy Batkovic Medal as MVP ahead of Southside Flyers ace Cambage (67) and Townsville Fire's Lauren Nicholson (65).

Both coaches and the lead official conducted 3-2-1 votes, with a maximum of nine votes possible in each game.

Opals squad member Talbot averaged 18.2 points, nine rebounds, three assists and 1.9 steals per game, passing double figures in points on 11 occasions.

"I'm shocked but absolutely honoured to be named league MVP," Talbot said.

"Both Liz (Cambage) and Lauren (Nicholson) had great seasons, with many people deserving of this accolade.

"As a league we had many challenges to overcome this season, and as a team we probably had more than most.

"But as captain of the Lightning, I couldn't be prouder of how we conducted ourselves this season and we have plenty of positives to take into next year."

Townsville's Shyla Heal, daughter of Boomers great Shane, won youth player of the year after the 19-year-old averaged 15.2 points per game for the Fire.

Fire coach Shannon Seebohm was named coach of the year after he piloted the side from last in 2019 to second this season.

Australian Associated Press