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By Kimberley Lewis, Basketball Australia

Sydney Uni Flames guard Deanna Smith has been named the Women’s National Basketball League Player of the Week for Round 11 after inspiring the Flames to victory over the Townsville Fire on Saturday night.

Smith, the third Sydney Uni player to win the accolade this season, provided a lift when it was most needed as the Flames downed the Fire 94-75 at home.

The 179cm guard posted her season best points tally to score an equal game high 27 points. She converted 10-of-16 from the field at 62.5 per cent, including 3-of-5 attempts from 3-point range.

“Obviously when you make your first couple of shots you begin to feel more relaxed and confident,” Smith said.

“So I think [Sydney Uni coach Karen] Dalton saw that I had hit a couple of shots so she adjusted the game plan to get some screens for me to see if I could continue on the streak. It was just one of those games where everything seemed to go right for me on the offence.”

Smith put in a standout all-round performance by adding three assists, three rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

The haul lifted Smith’s average to 14.7 points per game, pushing her into the top ten scorers in the league this season. The former Victorian junior is also among the top ten players in Field Goal Percentage, Assists and Offensive Rebounds with averages of 48 percent from the field (10th), 3.7 assists (8th) and 2.5 offensive rebounds per game (9th).

Named in the 2008/09 All-Star Five, this season has been an adjustment for Smith who moved from the Perth Lynx to the Flames in the offseason. She said the move is starting to payoff.

“It was hard for me at first because it’s a big change from my role in Perth to my role in Sydney but that was one of the reasons I made the move,” Smith said.

“I think with the support of the team and Dalton I’ve started to relax a bit more into my role and know a bit more what’s expected of me. That’s really helping with the way that I’m playing because I’m a bit more comfortable.”

“I think I’ve already shown some improvements in areas that weren’t my strengths. Trainings here are tough and Dalton is a good coach and with the strength of the girls around me you’re always challenged to step up every training session and I think that it’s starting to happen in the games for me.”

Smith’s Sydney Uni teammate and Player of the Month for November Suzy Batkovic-Brown was also a contender for this week’s award after equalling Smith’s points tally and adding 11 rebounds and six steals.

Canberra Capitals recruit Lauren Jackson was also in contention after she led all scorers in her return to the league as the Caps topped Perth Lynx in Western Australia. The Jayco Opals star posted 18 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 22 minutes on court.