Basketball: Lennox #6 in Australia

Bess Lennox finished her season in Western Australia as a top-10 player in the league.

That's a fairly declarative statement out of nowhere, so let's explain it a little bit.

You may recall that Lennox ended up with the second-highest adjusted game score in the CIS last year, behind only player of the year Kayla Dykstra, and that she signed with the Southwest Slammers of the helpfully-named State Basketball League. Well, there's no reason we can't do the same game score analysis for all the players in the SBL. As before, we're adjusting the original game score (definition here) by the RPI of the opponents each player faced. Here are the top 10:

Top 10 adjusted Game Scores in the SBL, 2009 season (at least 12 games played)
23.5, Deanna Smith (Perry Lakes Hawks, 15 games played)
18.1, Brooke Hiddlestone (Perth Redbacks, 21)
13.6, Shelley Boston (Mandurah Magic, 15)
12.9, Ashley Gilmore (Willetton TIgers, 20)
11.1, Samantha Norwood (Kalamunda Eastern Suns, 22)
10.7, Elizabeth Lennox (Southwest Slammers, 17)
10.4, Natalie Young (Lakeside Lightning, 22)
8.8, Kate Malpass (Willetton Tigers, 21)
8.2, Kaye Tucker (Rockingham Flames, 21)
7.7, Sherelle Johnson (Rockingham Flames, 22)

A few thoughts:
  • Not knowing anything about the league, it seems it might be a little below the quality of the CIS. Consider, for instance, the shooting percentages: last year, here in Canada, the women averaged 38% from the field, 30% on three-pointers, and 68% from the line. In the SBL, those rates were all lower: 36%, 28%, and 63%.
  • There was certainly one huge difference Lennox had to adjust to, though: a losing team. Her Slammers won only 3 out of 22 games and finished second-last, a far cry from the Western Mustangs' recent success. See below for more on this.
  • Apparently you don't want to be the one defending Deanna Smith, whoever that is.
Also notable is that everyone ranked ahead of Lennox played for a winning team, so finishing sixth out of 132 qualifying players is more impressive than at first glance.

Lennox's former coach at Western, Steph Barrie, has been in touch with her regularly, and passes along word that "she has really loved her time there. Obviously the losing has been difficult for her as she just is not used to that and for her it would not be easy to accept. But, the cultural experience, the people - have been great. She may look to jump up into Australia's top league if she gets an opportunity."

And based on her results so far, it seems like she won't have much difficulty in doing so.
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