Griffin Named MVP for WNBL Champions
Former Nebraska All-American Kelsey Griffin scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to power the Canberra Capitals to a 93-73 win over the Adelaide Lightning to claim the WNBL title in Australia Saturday.
Griffin's performance was her third mammoth effort in the three-game championship series, as she was named Grand Final Most Valuable Player for the third time in her career. In the series, Griffin averaged 25.0 points and 16.7 rebounds for the Capitals. She also knocked down five three-pointers, dished out five assists and blocked two shots in the championship game.
Griffin, a 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, led Canberra to the WNBL crown in her first season with the Capitals. She is in her ninth professional season overall and her seventh year as one of the elite players in the WNBL.
This season, Griffin is leading the WNBL in both scoring and rebounding with career-high averages of 19.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. while shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 73.1 percent from the free throw line. She has also put up career-best season totals of 72 assists and 44 steals for the Capitals.
In the first game of the WNBL Grand Final against the Adelaide Lightning, Griffin poured in 22 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds while dishing out three assists in an 88-67 win in Canberra.
In the second game of the best-of-three series, Griffin led Canberra with 24 points and a monstrous 23 rebounds, but the Capitals fell 74-73 on a last-second shot from former South Dakota star and Griffin's Australian National Team teammate Nicole Seekamp, who finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
In her seven WNBL seasons, Griffin has totaled 2,406 points and 1,388 rebounds. She spent her first six seasons with the Bendigo Spirit, leading her team to a pair of championships (2013, 2014). She was twice named the Most Valuable Player of the WNBL Grand Final.
Griffin was a first-team All-American and the Big 12 Player of the Year for the Huskers in 2010, capping a marvelous career (2006-10) that included 2,033 points and 1,019 rebounds in 127 games. She was also the 2010 Senior CLASS Award winner for women's basketball and the No. 3 overall pick in the WNBA Draft. She was a member of the 2010 WNBA All-Rookie Team and spent four seasons overall in the WNBA.
Her Nebraska No. 23 jersey was retired by the Huskers in 2014, before she became a permanent citizen of Australia in 2015. She was named the MVP of the Asia Cup in her first appearance with the Australian National Team in the summer of 2017.
While Griffin's 2018-19 WNBL season came to an end on Saturday, three other former Huskers are enjoying strong professional seasons overseas.
Yvonne Turner (2007-10), who has spent the past two WNBA seasons with the Phoenix Mercury, is averaging 8.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists for Sopron Basket in Hungary. Turner, a 5-8 guard from Omaha, Nebraska, was named the 2018 EuroLeague Point Guard of the Year. She has led Sopron to a 17-0 record so far this season. She was a first-team All-Big 12 guard for the Huskers in 2010.
Turner and Griffin were teammates on Nebraska's 2010 Big 12 Championship Team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Rachel Theriot (2003-16), another former Husker point guard, is starring for Tsmoki-Minsk, where she is averaging 12.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists for her 17-0 team in the Belarus Premier League. Theriot was an honorable-mention All-American and the Big Ten Tournament MVP for Nebraska in 2014.
Jordan Hooper (2011-14), a 6-2 forward from Alliance, Nebraska, is averaging 20.2 points and 8.9 rebounds for Elitzur Holon in the Israeli Women's Basketball League. Holon owns a 12-6 record in one of the world's top leagues. Hooper was a first-team All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year for the Huskers in 2014.
Hooper and Theriot were teammates on Nebraska squads that advanced to the 2013 NCAA Sweet Sixteen before capturing the 2014 Big Ten Tournament title.