Poto named Defensive Player of the Year

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Sydney Uni Flames Captain Alicia Poto has been named the Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year for the 2008/09 Australian Defence Force Women’s National Basketball League.

Poto’s tenacious defence restricted her opponents and disrupted the play of opposition teams throughout the season.

The 166cm point guard grabbed a career high 53 steals in the season to lead the league at an average of 2.5 steals per game and tallied 75 rebounds at an average of 3.6 rebounds per game.

Poto said the award was a positive way to finish the season.

“It was a nice surprise,” Poto said.

“It’s a really nice honour and a good way to wrap up a short season.”

She started the 2008/09 season on a high in Round 1 posting four rebounds, four steals, four assists and 17 points while restricting Adelaide point guard Angela Marino to only nine points.

Poto was named the Player of the Month for October after five rounds averaging 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals in six games.

The Athens Olympic silver medallist carried her early form throughout the season and was named the Nivea Player of the Week in Round 11 when she grabbed five rebounds, six steals, six assists and 21 points against the Australian Institute of Sport in her best defensive game of the season.

Poto said although she worked more on her offence this season, defence is an important part of her game.

“I do pride myself on my defence,” Poto said.

“Even at practice I’m competitive and I don’t like people to score on me and if they do then I try to make it as hard as possible.”

The first player from the Sydney team to win the award since 1994, Poto said that defence was a key focus for the Flames this season.

“One of our big themes is defence, obviously you look at teams like Canberra and Bulleen and they can play defence… if anything from this award I’ll be hoping to lead the way with a new team next year and teach the girls that defence is the way to get into those big games and eventually win them.”

Poto won the title by just a single vote over nine-time Defensive Player of the Year, Dandenong Rangers veteran Emily McInerny.

The Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year award is determined through votes cast by head coaches and statisticians at the conclusion of each match.

Prior to the 1999/2000 season, the Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year was known as the Defensive Player of the Year.