Townsville centre Suzy Batkovic has been named the best player in the WNBL for a record third straight year.
Townsville Fire centre Suzy Batkovic has become the first player to win three successive WNBL Most Valuable Player awards, a feat even the great Lauren Jackson couldn’t manage.
Batkovic was voted the best player in the competition in each of the past two seasons while playing for the Adelaide Lightning.
The 33-year-old has been just as dominant in her first season with Townsville, finishing in the top five in points, rebounds, blocks and steals while leading the Fire into Sunday’s grand final against Bendigo.
Only Jackson (four MVPs in 1999-2000 and 2003-04) has won the MVP title more times than Batkovic – but the Opals superstar never claimed three in a row.
“To be honest, when I found out I was a little bit speechless, which doesn’t happen very often,” said the three-time Olympian.
“I was just blown away. I didn’t see it coming at all, but I’m really honoured to receive the award.”
Batkovic has previously won WNBL titles with the AIS in 1998-99 and the Sydney Uni Flames in 2001 and would love to claim a third crown with a third team.
The Fire will go in as underdogs against defending champions Bendigo as they chase what would be a first WNBL title for the North Queensland franchise.
“As you get older, you realise that it’s rare to make a grand final, and even more so to win one,” she said.
“Many great athletes go through their career and don’t win a championship. As you get older, you get hungrier for success.”
Batkovic polled 136 votes in the MVP.
Dandenong Rangers star Jenna O’Hea was second on 129 and Adelaide Lightning forward Laura Hodges was third with 116.