Bundaberg have enjoyed a perfect 4-0 start this season and Brooklyn Pope was instrumental in maintaining that record during her team’s first double-header to take out the QBL Women’s Player of the week for Round 4. Pope was the star in the Bears’ first-up win over the Clippers with a game-high 23 points at 81%, a team high 7 rebounds plus 2 steals and a block for good measure. She would again have a pivotal role when her team backed up to Ipswich, where despite fighting fatigue and a tenacious Force ‘D, played a crucial part in the Bears’ blistering second half to overrun and then run away from the hosts with 16 points at 63% and 10 rebounds.
Pope is in her second week of her debut QBL season and has behind her an enviable CV. A power forward/centre from Fort Worth, Texas she started her college career with Rutgers before transferring to powerhouse Baylor where she was a starter in all her three seasons there. The crowning moment for Pope was being a member of the Baylor Bears team that took out the 2012 NCAA Division 1 Championship.
After her final year in 2013, Pope was picked up in the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky before gaining a release to join French team Limoges ABC. She had one highly successful and decorated season there before being sought out by Bundaberg to become their key plank for 2015. Keeping in mind she is still getting used to her new surroundings, Pope has all the promise in becoming one of the elite players in the league and will give the Bears a real fear factor this season.
Other standouts in Round 4 included Mackay’s Kayla Standish who started her weekend strongly with 40 points in victory against Gold Coast, Northside’s Nadeen Payne doing all she could with 24 points and 14 rebounds in a loss to Brisbane, and another Bundaberg player in Carly Boag with 21 points and 18 rebounds against Ipswich.
Drew Phillips – Brisbane Capitals
The QBL Men’s Round 4 Player of the Week is Drew Phillips of the Brisbane Capitals, following an instrumental performance from the bench to help his side put the torch to the Wizards. After a tight opening quarter, the Capitals were able to seize momentum in the second largely through Phillips – who went 4-4 from beyond the perimeter on his way to 14 points for the term. This set up a sizeable 14 point half time margin for the Caps who then continued to consolidate through the back half for a resounding victory. In just 25 minutes of playing time, Phillips sunk a game-high 26 points at 64% including 6 from 9 outside the arc, six rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.
This is Phillips’ sixth season with the Capitals and so far his stats this year suggest he is in career-best form with his current averages for points, rebounds and steals all at season-highs. His first season with the Capitals was back in 2007 however sat out three seasons in ’09 and ’11-12. He was also absent for the back half of the 2014 season and was sorely missed by the Capitals, who will be hoping he now stays on court throughout this entire 2015 campaign.
Since making his second return in 2013, Phillips has proved to be one of the most valuable sixth men in the league, and been one of the most consistent performers for the Caps without necessarily acquiring the accolades of those around him. However, this week he deservedly gets recognition with his maiden Player of the Week.
Other strong performers from Round 4 included Bundaberg’s Ricky James who notched 70 points across the Bulls’ two games, while Mackay’s Chris Cedar was typically solid all-round in a successful double-header, twice going beyond 20 points. Dominic Cheek was instrumental in Rockhampton’s hard-fought win over Townsville with 30 points, 10 rebounds while Justin Baker led Gladstone’s continued resurgence this season with 25 points, 12 rebounds in their win over Townsville.