Melbourne Boomers 2018/19 MVP Lindsay Allen returns for the 2019/20 WNBL season

In her first WNBL season with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers point guard Lindsay Allen was exceptional in 2018/19 with the American imports strengths being scoring and passing ability, composure, shooting accuracy and the ability to make a big play when the Boomers needed it the most. Allen was rewarded for her brilliant season by winning the Melbourne Boomers Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and being selected in the WNBL All-Star five.

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On 30th June 2019 the Deakin Melbourne Boomers were delighted to announce that 24 year-old Allen had re-signed with the club for the 2019/20 season. Boomers head coach Guy Molloy commented “Lindsay was a game-changer. It was the first time the club had targeted an out-an-out point guard, in the past it’s been combination guards. We’re thrilled to have her back; she is a prized part of what we do.”1

Allen played 149 games for Notre Dame University from 2013/14 to 2016/17 averaging 8.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game with a field goal accuracy of 50.4%. During her college career Allen started all 149 games for Notre Dame who had an impressive record of 139 wins and 10 losses and made the Final Four in 2014 and 2015. At Notre Dame Allen set records for career assists (841) and career starts as well as single season assists with 282 in 2016/17 and single season minutes played with 1,279 in 2016/17.

Allen was selected by the New York Liberty with pick 14 at the 2017 WNBA draft and played 28 games for NYL in 2017. After being waived by New York on 18th May 2017 Allen signed with the Las Vegas Aces two days later and played 24 games for the Las Vegas Aces in 2018 including six as a starter. It was announced on 5th May 2019 that Allen would miss the entire 2019 WNBA season due to knee surgery. In 52 WNBA regular season games Allen has averaged 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals and 14.1 minutes per game.

Lindsay joined the Melbourne Boomers as an American import and starred as their starting point guard throughout the 2018/19 season, being named in the WNBL Team of the Week on five occasions Rounds 2, 5, 6, 7 and 12. In Melbourne’s first game of Round 5 at home on Thursday night 8th November against the Sydney Uni Flames Allen score 16 points and had five assists. In a Grand Final replay at Townsville Stadium on Sunday 11th November Allen played a critical role in the Boomers winning the Grand Final replay, with 29 points including 13 in the fourth quarter, six assists and three steals. Lindsay had a field goal accuracy of 71% and made four of her six three-pointers which contributed to her being named the WNBL’s Player of the Week for Round 5.

Allen continued her blistering form in Round 6 to be dominant in the back-court and named the WNBL’s Player of the Week for the second week in a row, having 26 points, five rebounds and five assists against the Perth Lynx in a 20 point road victory followed by 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals in a home win against Townsville. Allen was recognised for her outstanding play during November by being named the WNBL’s player of the Month after averaging 19.8 points, shooting at 53% from the field, 49% from beyond the arc, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game in November.

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During the 2018/19 WNBL season 173 centimetre tall Allen was able to produce several big plays when the Boomers most needed it, none more so than in the dying seconds of regulation in a Round 12 road game on 29th December against Bendigo Spirit at Bendigo Stadium which was broadcast on Television by Fox Sports and SBS. Melbourne trailed by three points with 5.5 seconds remaining in regulation, after the ball was inbounded to Allen from the baseline she dribbled up the court, got within a metre of the three-point line and with poise and magnificent execution made a step-back banked three pointer to send the game to overtime. Melbourne restricted Bendigo to three points in overtime to record a 71-67 victory. Allen was sublime against Bendigo, scoring 27 points, had four rebounds, three assists and one block whilst shooting at 54% from the field to earn her fifth and final Team of the Week selection.

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Melbourne recorded 15 wins and six losses to finish the regular season in second place, one game behind the minor premiers, the University of Canberra Capitals and two games ahead of the Adelaide Lightning and Perth Lynx in third and fourth position respectively. Melbourne lost their semi final series to Adelaide 0-2, being defeated 60-76 in game 1 at the State Basketball Centre and 92-100 in game 2 at Titanium Arena in Adelaide. It was the second consecutive year that the Boomers made the finals, having finished the 2017/18 regular season in fourth position and advancing to the Grand Final where they lost to Townsville 1-2.

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During 2018/19 American import Allen averaged 18.0 points (fifth in the league), 3.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists (fourth in the league) and a team-high 1.2 steals per game. Allen was a very accurate shooter, making 86% of her free-throw attempts and 51% of her field goals, impressive for a player of any size and exceptional for a 173 cm tall guard who took less shots in the paint than front-court players who had a similar accuracy. Lindsay scored in double figures 20 times and scored at least 20 points on 10 occasions including a season-high 29 points twice.

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Following each game of the 2018/19 WNBL regular season both head coaches, along with the head referee cast votes for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award on a 3, 2, 1 basis. Lindsay finished third in the league’s MVP award with 94 votes behind UC Capitals forward Kelsey Griffin (119 votes) and Dandenong Rangers shooting guard Bec Cole (99).

The WNBL All-Star five was voted on by the coaches and captains of the WNBL clubs at the end of the regular season with a short-list of 20 players that received MVP votes during the season eligible to be voted for. Allen was selected in the WNBL All Star five along with Griffin, Cole, and two fellow American imports in Nia Coffey (Adelaide Lightning) and Asia Taylor (Perth Lynx).

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An interview with Lindsay late in the 2018/19 season ‘Boomers Courtside Chat: Lindsay Allen’ was published on the Melbourne Boomers website on 24th July 2019. In the interview Lindsay was asked “What have you enjoyed most about your first WNBL season and playing for the Boomers?” and responded “There’s just so many things that have been great – from the professionalism of the club, from the front office, down to coaches, down to my teammates has been phenomenal. I think the competition and the whole league has been great. It’s just been a great experience for me to come over here to Australia and be able to become a better basketball player, but also to see the world and experience something different to what I did in America.”2

Allen is one of seven players from Melbourne’s 2018/19 roster returning for the 2019/20 season with other players in this category being this seasons co-captains Cayla George and Maddie Garrick along with Ezi Magbegor, Kalani Purcell, Monique Conti and Chelsea D’Angelo. The Boomers new recruits for 2019/20 include Toni Farnworth, Penina Davidson, Stella Beck and American import Sophie Cunningham who in 2019 played her rookie WNBA season with the Phoenix Mercury. The Melbourne Boomers pre-season has been impacted by the club having a heavy involvement at International level in late September at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup in India with George and Magbegor representing the Australian Opals and Guy Molloy coaching the New Zealand Tall Ferns which included four players on the Boomers 2019/20 roster – Purcell, Farnworth, Davidson and Beck.

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Lindsay Allen was exceptional for the Melbourne Boomers in 2018/19 deservedly winning the Boomers MVP Award and being selected in the WNBL All-Star five. In what shapes as a hotly contested 2019/20 season the ice-cool Allen is set to play a pivotal role for Melbourne with her  ability to make an impact on the scoreboard and bring her team-mates in to the play together with poise to make the right decisions and execute plays under pressure.

By Dean Andrews

Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777

1 http://wnbl.basketball/melbourne/news/deakin-melbourne-boomers-re-sign-star-point-guard-allen/

2 http://wnbl.basketball/melbourne/news/boomers-courtside-chat-lindsay-allen/

 

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