Samarie Walker – Gladstone Port City Power
Congratulations to Gladstone Port City Power’s Samarie Walker, who has picked up the first Women’s Player of the Week award for the 2015 QBL season. Walker played a major role in the Power’s dominant 87-62 upset win over Mackay Meteorettes on Saturday night. In her debut QBL match for the Power, Walker hit a total of 32 points including 18 points in the third quarter to help overrun the reigning champions. The import also dominated on the boards taking 19 rebounds in the clash, making a strong first impression for her new team, backed up by other strong performances from team-mates Maddy Willey (23 points) and Tierra Henderson (20 points) to help secure the victory.
This is Walker’s first QBL season and if the results from her first outing with Gladstone are any indication, it’s set to be a big year for the 22 year old. Originally hailing from Ohio, the 185cm Forward graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2013, playing 96 games for the Kentucky Wildcats, averaging 8.5 points at 45% in the field and 8.4 rebounds per game in her final season. She finished her career ranked third on the team’s all-time rebounds per game and fifth in double-doubles. She was named in the NCAA All-Regional Tournament Team in her sophomore year, averaging 13.3 points and 10.8 rebounds during Kentucky’s run in the Elite Eight in the 2011-12 season tournament. 2014 saw Walker head overseas, signing with Spanish team Mann Filter where she averaged 10.2 points per game in the 2014-15 season.
Other strong performances during Round 1 included Ipswich’s Chelsie Schweers, who put up 28 points, five assists and four rebounds in the Force’s 91-72 defeat of Gold Coast Rollers. Lisa Brennan impressed for Townsville with 26 points against the Clippers and 11 points and 14 rebounds against Northside in the Flames’ double win on the weekend, with team-mate Jacqui Zelenka also on fire with 24 points and 15 rebounds against Northside. Nadeen Payne was strong for the Wizards with 30 points in the defeat against Townsville, and Rachel Pryor settled into her new team putting up 29 points for Cairns in their win over Brisbane.
James Legan – Ipswich Force
With a huge contribution of 46 points helping his team to clinch a 121-98 victory over Gold Coast, Ipswich Force’s James Legan is the Men’s Player of the Week for Round 1. During an at-times gruelling match against the Rollers, the import let no chance go begging as he sort to get a victory for Ipswich, putting up a total of 31 shot attempts in the field at a 54.8% success rate, and finding the basket from the perimeter six times during the clash. Legan also took in six rebounds and one assist during his time on court.
This is Legan’s sixth QBL Player of the Week award, and his first while playing for the Force. He was a key player for the Toowoomba Mountaineers during his three years with the side, taking out Player of the Week accolades twice in 2011 and in 2012, and during Round 9 in 2013. This is his second season with Ipswich, but he impressed in his debut season with the Force, named in the 2014 QBL All League Team after averaging 25.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and helping to take the Force into through to the semi-finals. Originally from Texas, the 190cm Guard average 11.8 points in his final year of college at East Carolina University in 2009. In 2007 he was named in the All-Region XIV second team for Conference USA in the NCAA.
Other standouts from the first weekend of competition included new Toowoomba Mountaineers signing Erron Maxey, who pulled a double-double in his team’s win over South West Metro Pirates – with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Nathan Sobey performed strongly for Cairns Marlins during their double-header road trip, with 19 points and five rebounds against Bundaberg, before backing up with 25 points and seven rebounds against Brisbane. Ryan Vines and Ishmael Hollis put in solid efforts for South West Metro in their loss against Toowoomba, with Vines putting up 27 points and Hollis posting 29 points. Gladstone’s Raymond Willis impressed in defeat with 35 points and 14 rebounds in the Power’s loss against Mackay, while Shaun Gleeson gave his all for Gold Coast in their defeat by Ipswich, with 28 points.