Adelaide Lightning captain Steph Talbot has continued her MVP form on her quest to win back to back Suzy Batkovic medals in a stunning comeback performance to breeze past the Southside Flyers by 13 points.
Talbot won the 2020 MVP and is not doing her chances at going back to back any harm. She put on a monster two-way performance to silence the home crowd at Dandenong Stadium on Saturday night, adding to her stellar 2022 season.
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When looking at her season as a whole, she has been playing no less than 31 minutes in a game. Talbot brings a calm presence and competitive nature, which has inspired her teammates and helped her side to stand taller.
In the last five games Talbot has played, she has scored no less than 11 points, scoring 19 on two occasions including in the one point win against the Perth Lynx. She has also been big on offensive rebounds, averaging nearly two per game.
Her defensive work has also been immense, having collected seven or more defensive rebounds in six out of eight games, and made a steal a game on average.
Alongside her individual brilliance, her ability to bring other players into the game has been a trademark of Talbot’s 2022. She has a tally of 50 assists in only eight games which she attributed on Saturday to her coach’s belief and game style.
When asked about their team first mentality, she gave credit to her coach Chris Lucas.
“I’ve played for Chris for three years now, I think and that’s just his style of play, he likes to play fast, he likes to push the ball and he likes the extra pass, we play a real team style and it’s fun to be around,” Talbot said.
The fourth placed Lightning team welcomed its captain back with open arms after two losses in a row in her absence while she was playing for the Australian Opals in Serbia.
She showed just how badly they missed her with yet another player of the match performance.
Before the game Talbot averaged 14 points as well as 9.7 rebounds and six assists, and by half-time against the Flyers, she was well on her way with eight points, four assists, and three rebounds.
By the end of the encounter she had earned herself a double-double; 12 points and 11 rebounds, and just two assists short of a triple-double.
A teammate of Talbot’s that is continuing to have a massive impact on the Lightning’s form is her Opals teammate in Alanna Smith. Smith was averaging 15 points before the game along with 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
She was also in fine form, notching up 13 points at half-time, to finish on a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Talbot and Smith have become as important as two WNBL players can be to their side due to not only their skill level, but their ability to cover all statistics and bring their team into the game off their own back.
The win by the Adelaide Lightning side saw them leapfrog the Melbourne Boomers to jump into third position on the WNBL ladder. They will travel to play the Bendigo Spirit on Thursday before continuing their road trip to play the Sydney Uni Flames on Saturday. The Southside Flyers will have a six day break before travelling to play the Bendigo Spirit on Saturday.
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