After being a member of Townsville Fire’s core rotation in 2020 point guard Steph Reid was one of the revelations of the 2021/22 WNBL season, relishing increased playing opportunities to rank equal fourth in the league for assists per game and was nominated for the WNBL’s Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year Award. Reid’s breakout WNBL season was rewarded by winning Townsville Fire’s 2021/22 Most Valuable Player Award. In late May Reid attended her first Australian Opals training camp and achieved a dream by making her Australian Opals debut against Japan.
Reid grew up on the Mornington Peninsula in Mount Eliza, started playing basketball at five years of age at Frankston, progressed through the entire junior pathway at Frankston and later represented the club at senior level.
After completing high school in late 2014 Reid commenced a college career with University of Buffalo in mid-January 2015, two months after the 2014/15 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s basketball season started. Reid was selected in the Defensive All-MAC team in three consecutive seasons from 2015/16 to 2017/18, earnt selection on an All-Mac team twice and ended her college career first on the Buffalo Bulls all-time list for career assists.
In the Championship Game of the 2016 Mid-American Conference Women’s tournament Reid made a buzzer-beating match winner at the end of overtime to break a tie and put the Bulls two points in front to win the title. It was the first time that Buffalo had won the tournament in their history, Reid was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. In 2018 University of Buffalo won a game in the NCAA Women’s tournament for the first time in their history, winning two rounds to make it to the sweet sixteen.
After graduating from the University of Buffalo Reid returned to Australia and played for the Frankston Blues at senior level in the last season of the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) in 2018 and the inaugural NBL1 season in 2019. In an NBL1 game for the Frankston Blues in May, 2019 Blues Reid set a new league record for most points scored in a game, scoring 50 points against Launceston Tornadoes in a home game, making 19 of 25 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 76%.
At 22 years of age 168 centimetre tall Reid made her WNBL debut with the Dandenong Rangers in 2018/19 and played limited minutes in seven games across her first two WNBL seasons for the Dandenong based club who were re-branded as the Southside Flyers in 2019/20.
In two WNBL seasons for the Townsville Fire in 2020 and 2021/22 Reid finished in the top four of the WNBL’s sixth Woman of the Year Award. Due to injuries to her Townsville Fire teammates 25 year old Reid took on more responsibility in the second half of the 2021/22 WNBL season and after playing over 30 minutes court-time in just one of Townsville’s first nine games of the season played over 30 minutes in each of the Fire’s last eight games of the season.
Reid is currently in her second consecutive NBL1 season with the Townsville Flames. Reid was selected in the 2021 All-NBL1 North team and in 2022 ranks third in the league for assists and sixth in scoring.
At the 2019 World University Games held In Napoli, Italy Reid was a member of the Emerging Opals team that won the gold medal, defeating USA in the final.
After playing for the Opals in the series against Japan In New South Wales during May 2022 Reid told fdba.com.au “It was surreal, I had dreamt of doing that for a very long time, about 20 years now. To know that I was able to put on the green and gold jersey and go out and play in Sydney in front of our home fans was unreal, something I couldn’t even describe. As one of the fastest, most athletic teams in the world (Japan), it definitely was a big adjustment compared to the WNBL.”1
Steph Reid’s basketball career from junior level to college, WNBL, SEABL and NBL1 is comprehensively covered below.
Early life and junior career
Stephanie Reid was born on22 July 1996, her parents are Duncan and Michelle and she has one sister Emily. Steph grew up on the Mornington Peninsula in Mount Eliza approximately 58 kilometres south south east of Melbourne. On Series 8, Episode 3 of Basket Case : A podcast about the WNBL published on 15 December 2021 Reid commented on her junior basketball career with the Frankston Blues “I started when I was five playing down at Frankston, I actually did all of my juniors through there. I was pretty lucky to have Frankston as my junior association for the whole time, yeah so played that until under 18’s. My mum played that Sunday mixed competition, one of the guys that she played with coached a team, they needed a fill-in so I came and joined in and I fell in love with it pretty quick. I feel I had to start pretty young considering I never really grew (Reid is 168 centimetres tall), I feel like I needed the extra years.” Reid began playing representative basketball for Frankston in the under 12’s as a bottom age player and played with some teammates for eight years during her junior career.
During 2013 Reid played seven games in the Big V Victorian Youth Championship Women, averaging 4.9 points and 16 minutes per game. Playing for the Frankston Blues during the 2014 Big V Victorian Youth Championship Women Reid played a more prominent role, playing over 30 minutes court-time in 15 of her 20 games for the season. Reid score more than 20 points in a game six times, including a sequence of three consecutive games in the last quarter of the season. Reid averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 33.4 minutes per game.
Reid attended high school at the Peninsula School (now known as Peninsula Grammar) in Mount Eliza. In 2013 and 2014 Reid represented Associated Grammar Schools in basketball against Associated Public Schools. Reid was the captain of Associated Grammar Schools basketball team in 2014.
Days before making her senior debut with the Australian Opals in late May 2022 Reid commented on her junior career to The Sydney Morning Herald “I’ve never been to a junior nationals or made a Vic Metro team so I’ve always tried to be the hardest worker and make sure that’s something that I live by. I was always around the top 25 players [when state teams were selected] but I would get to the last round and get cut. I was told I was too small, my wingspan wasn’t long enough, I wasn’t athletic enough or I couldn’t shoot the ball well enough – that has driven me to be more motivated and work on my game.”2
Most players that go on to represent the Australian Opals had considerable experience representing their state at junior level and then progressed to represent Australia at under-age level for the Sapphires (under 17’s) and Gems (under 19’s). Aware that she is an exception to this Reid told The Sydney Morning Herald “How many players reach this point [The Opals] and can say they never went to a nationals? I try to pass that on to kids because lots of them get cut from teams each year.”3
College career with the University of Buffalo from 2014/15 to 2017/18
Less than two months after graduating from high school at Peninsula School in Mount Eliza during November 2014 Reid moved 16,300 kilometres to attend the University of Buffalo, located in New York, United States of America. Felisha Legette-Jack was in her third season as the University of Buffalo’s Women’s basketball coach, having commenced the role in 2012/13. Reid was one of four Australian freshman on University of Buffalo’s Women’s basketball team in 2014/15 along with Courtney Wilkins and twin sisters Liisa and Katherine Ups. The Buffalo Bulls are one of 12 teams that compete in the Mid-American Conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1.
In early June 2022 Reid commented to fdba.com.au on how she got an opportunity at Buffalo, saying “No state teams, no national teams, no AIS. I only got to college because I went on a trip with Simon (Mitchell) and the Frankston Blues in the U/18s team to the USA. Simon put me in conversation with the Buffalo coaches, without that, I wouldn’t have been in college and college is where it all started for me. I’m extremely grateful for the pathway that Frankston gave me because without it I would be nowhere near where I am today.”4
During a UB Women’s basketball video: Stephanie Reid published on 20 October 2015Reid commented “I chose to come to UB because the staff were incredible. I got to come here with my best friend Courtney Wilkins) and that was a huge thing for me so when we both got offered we both knew that we were taking it and we were coming together. Our families are both each other’s family so my family come and visit she has a family here for a week, if hers comes and visits I get the same thing so it is just like a big support network and yeah, it has really helped me since I have been here.”
On 10 January 2015 Reid made her College debut for University of Buffalo in a road game against Miami at Millett Hall, playing five minutes off the bench and made her only field goal attempt, a three-pointer in the Bulls 71-51 victory.
After Reid started the first two games of her college career for University of Buffalo on the bench she was elevated to the role of starting point guard in her third game at Alumni Arena Buffalo against Ball State on 17 January and retained the role as University of Buffalo’s starting point guard for the remaining 114 games of her college career. Against Akron on 28 February 2015 in a home game at Alumni Arena Reid scored a season-high 21 points, made six of ten field goal attempts and seven of eight free-throws.
During 2014/15 season the Bulls made the semi finals at the 2015 MAC Women’s Tournament and had an overall record of 19 wins and 12 losses. During 2014/15 Reid led the Buffalo Bulls in assists per game, ranked fourth for minutes played and sixth in scoring.
On 24 February 2016 Reid scored 14 points and had six assists to play an instrumental role in the Bulls 55-52 victory against Bowling Green. In a University of Buffalo 70-58 road victory against the Mid-American Conference’s number one ranked team Ohio on 27 February Reid scored an equal game-high 21 points along with teammate Joanna Smith, took seven rebounds, made a game-high and equal career-high eight assists and had three steals. Reid was named the MAC East Player of the Week for her outstanding performances in University of Buffalo’s two victories.
During the 2015/16 regular season University of Buffalo had a conference record of eight wins and 10 losses to be the eighth seed in the 2016 MAC Women’s Tournament. In the first round University of Buffalo defeated ninth seed Bowling Green 60-44.
In a quarter-final the Bulls played number one seeds Ohio who had a conference best record of 16 wins and two losses however both their losses had been to University of Buffalo. Reid scored 16 points, made five of 11 field goal attempts, made six of seven free-throws, took three rebounds, made four assists, two steals and played 39 minutes in the Buffalo Bull’s 72-60 victory against Ohio.
At half-time in their semi final against Akron at Quickens Loans Arena the Bulls trailed 41-46. Early in the third quarter Reid committed her fourth foul and then picked up a technical foul which fouled her out of the game with seven minutes and six seconds to play in the third quarter and the Bulls trailing Akron 45-49. Buffalo remained composed and fought back to record a thrilling 88-87 to advance to the MAC Tournament Championship game for the first time in their history.
In the Mid-American Conference Championship game at Quickens Loans Arena on 12 March 2016 University of Buffalo started well to lead Central Michigan 24-18 at quarter-time. The Bulls found it tougher to score after quarter-time, registering less than 15 points in each of the last three quarters and the scores were tied at 64 apiece at the end of regulation, sending the championship game to overtime for the fourth time in the tournament’s history.
During the first two minutes and 30 seconds of overtime Reid provided assists for two three-pointers and the Bulls led 70-67. Presley Hudson made two free-throws for Central Michigan to tie the game 71-71 with 3.4 seconds left in overtime. After a University of Buffalo time-out the ball was in-bounded to Reid three metres behind the three-point line. Reid took two dribbles and made a banked jump-shot from just below the foul line on the right hand side to beat the buzzer, break the tie and secure University of Buffalo a 73-71 win over Central Michigan and Buffalo’s first ever MAC championship in dramatic fashion. It was Reid’s first ever game-ending buzzer beater of her basketball career at any level. In the championship game Reid registered the first double-double of her college career comprised of 10 points and a career-high 12 assists. Reid was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2016 MAC Women’s tournament and was joined in the All-Tournament team by Bulls teammate Joana Smith.
The number eight seeded University of Buffalo became the lowest seed to ever win the Mid-American Conference Women’s tournament. On her game-winning buzzer beater Reid commented in the UB Women’s Basketball: Mid-American Conference Champions video “Coach Jack said ‘Get the ball, you have two dribbles that’s three seconds and then you are going to have to put it up.’ I said ‘ok.’ I pushed out my two dribbles somehow got in the key, it was in the air for a little while but it went in.”
Later in the video Reid commented “You know, we are a hungry team. We said from the start of this week the hungrier team is going to win. It’s conference play-offs so we have to be the hungrier team, we have to want it more, no-one knows our fight besides us, so we just have to come out and show that.”
By winning the MAC Women’s tournament the University of Buffalo qualified for the NCAA Women’s tournament. In the first round Buffalo were defeated by Ohio State 88-69 on 18 March at St John Arena Ohio.
University of Buffalo had a record of 20 wins and 14 losses during the 2015/16 season. In her sophomore season Reid was one of only two players to start all 34 games for the Bulls along with Smith. In 2015/16 Reid averaged 10.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.9 steals and 33.3 minutes per game. Reid led the Bulls in assists and steals per game and ranked second behind Smith for scoring and minutes played. Reid was named in the 2015/16 Defensive All-MAC team and selected in the All-MAC third team.
Against Ball State in a home game at Alumni Arena, Buffalo in her junior season on 25 January 2017 Reid scored 10 points, made a phenomenal 16 assists, took three rebounds and made an equal game-high three steals. In a semi final at the 2016 MAC Women’s Tournament Buffalo were defeated 65-72 by Toledo.
The Bulls had a record of 22 wins and 10 losses in 2016/17. During the 2016/17 season Reid played all 32 games for Buffalo and averaged 11.5 points and 7.2 assists per game to set career-highs in both categories, she also averaged 3.1 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 32.7 minutes per game. Reid led Buffalo in assists, steals and minutes played per game and ranked second behind senior, Smith in scoring. Reid was named in the Defensive All-MAC team for the second consecutive season. Reid “Ranked 2nd in the MAC and 7th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.3 APG) and ranked 1st in the MAC and 8th in the NCAA in assist/turnover margin (2.9).”5
In a home game at Alumni Arena on 10 November 2017 against Delaware in her senior season Reid registered a double-double comprised of 16 points and a game-high 11 assists, made five of 10 field goal attempts, five of six free-throws and made four steals.
During the 2017/18 season Buffalo were vying with Central Michigan to have the best record in the Mid-American Conference. In a road game on 31 January the Bulls were defeated by Central Michigan 79-86. A fortnight night later in a return battle at home Reid played a brilliant all-round game for the Bulls, scoring 20 points, made six of 12 field goals, took nine rebounds, had eight assists and two steals in an 85-82 victory on 14 February.
At the 2018 MAC Women’s Tournament Buffalo were the number 2 seeds and as one of the top four seeds got a bye to the quarter finals. On 7 March at Quickens Loans Arena in a quarter final against Kent State Reid played brilliantly to score a game-high 22 points, made 10 of 15 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 66.7%, made a game-high 11 assists and had an equal game-high five steals in a 72-50 victory. Buffalo defeated Western Michigan 85-53 in a semi final with Reid scoring 12 points. In the Championship game Buffalo were ere defeated 91-96 by number one seeds Central Michigan. Reid scored 15 points and had four assists in the final. Reid was one of two Buffalo players along with Cierra Dillard named in the 2018 MAC All-Tournament team.
In the 2018 NCAA Women’s tournament University of Buffalo played their round 1 game against South Florida at Donald L. Tucker Center on 17 March as part of the Albany Regional Tournament. At quarter time sixth seed South Florida led 11th seed Buffalo 20-11. Buffalo outplayed South Florida after quarter time, scoring at least 28 points in each quarter and restricted South Florida to under 22 points in each term which resulted in Buffalo recording a 102-79 victory, in the process winning a game in the NCAA Women’s tournament for the first time in Buffalo’s history. In the Buffalo Bulls victory Reid scored 19 points, took four rebounds and made a game-high eight assists.
Two days later at the same venue Buffalo played number 3 seeds Florida State. The Bulls won each quarter by at least four points and recorded a convincing 86-65 victory with Reid scoring 18 points.
Their Round 2 victory advanced the Bulls to a sweet sixteen game against number two seeds South Carolina at Times Union Center New York on 24 March. South Carolina won the 2017 NCAA Women’s Tournament and with their size caused match-up problems for Buffalo. South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson won the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) Award at the 2017 tournament and weeks after the 2018 tournament was selected with the first pick overall by the Las Vegas Aces at the 2018 WNBA Draft. Buffalo led South Carolina 17-16 at quarter-time. South Carolina outscored Buffalo 24-14 in the second term to gain the ascendancy and went on to defeat the Bulls 79-63 and dominated the rebound count against Buffalo 48-21.
With 41 seconds left in the game Reid was substituted out and embraced Bulls coach Legette-Jack, Reid was in tears, not wanting her college journey to end just yet. After the game Reid told The Buffalo News “It’s never fun to go out on a loss. But only one team gets to do it in the end with a win. It’s hard, hard to know I’ll never put this jersey on again, and it’s hard to know that when I untied my shoelaces it was the last time as a Buffalo Bull. Honestly, I couldn’t be any more grateful to call Buffalo my second home. I’ve had the best three and a half years here.”6
Reid told The Buffalo News “One day, when I grow up, I hope to be just like Coach Jack. Very strong and amazing as she is, because she completely transformed my life in the last three and a half years, not just my basketball skills, my whole life. And I’m forever grateful for that.”7
During Reid’s first three seasons at Buffalo the team steadily improved going from 19 wins in 2014/15 to 20 wins in 2015/16 and then 22 wins in 2016/17. During 2017/18 the Bulls were one of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference and had a record of 29 wins and six losses for a winning percentage of 82.9%. In her senior year Reid started 31 games for Buffalo and averaged a career-high 12.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, a career-high 2.3 steals and 31.7 minutes per game. Reid led the Bulls in assists and minutes per game, ranked second for steals behind Dillard and third in scoring behind Dillard and Oursler. Reid was selected in All-MAC second team and was named in the MAC All-Defensive team for the third consecutive season.
From 2014/15 to 2017/18 Reid played a total of 116 games College basketball for University of Buffalo across four seasons and averaged 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 31.9 minutes per game. Reid is the University of Buffalo’s all-time leader in assists.
On playing college basketball with University of Buffalo Reid told fdba.com.au “I had an amazing experience at Buffalo and the last four years really grew me as a player and a person. My senior year was unforgettable, having the opportunity to be a part of one of the best sixteen teams in the country and make history was something I’ll always remember.”8
2018 SEABL season with the Frankston Blues
After graduating from The University of Buffalo Reid joined the Frankston Blues during the 2018 South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) season and played her first game in Round 9. Simon Mitchell was the coach of Frankston’s NBL1 women’s team in 2018 and was also an assistant coach of NBL club Melbourne United.
On 30 June in a home game against the Albury Wodonga Bandits at Frankston Basketball Stadium Reid played the full 40 minutes, scored 31 points, made 10 of 16 field goals at an accuracy of 62.5%, made two of four three-pointers and all nine free-throws, took a team-high 10 rebounds, had a team-high four assists and had a game-high four steals.
During the 2018 SEABL season Reid played eight games for the Frankston Blues and averaged 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Frankston finished on the bottom of the SEABL ladder in 2018, having two wins and 20 losses.
2018/19 and 2019/20 WNBL seasons
At 22 years of age Reid made her Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) debut with the Dandenong Rangers during the 2018/19 WNBL season, playing three games. Although Reid didn’t play much court-time she was able to learn from training with the team. During the 8 May 2019 episode of the NBL1 Show Reid commented on her 2018/19 WNBL season with the Jayco Rangers “I learnt a lot, you know being behind someone like Tessa Lavey, she has been to the Olympics, probably go again next year, just being behind someone like that and learning every day, being able to match up with her and Amelia Todhunter. That in itself is so hard and that is the level I want to play at, I want to be there. I learnt so much from Rachel Jarry, Bec Cole defensively, I have always been a good defensive player but I have just got so much more knowledge, I want to fit in at that level so I have to work harder and I have to get there, that was more so the mind-set that I got out of that, being surrounded by great players, you want to be at their level to so you have got to get there somehow.”
In July 2019 the Dandenong Rangers were re-branded as the Southside Flyers. A quad injury kept Reid on the sidelines for five weeks during the 2019/20 WNBL season. During 2019/20 Reid played four games for the Southside Flyers who won the minor premiership and were defeated in the Grand Final by the University of Canberra Capitals. Whilst Reid played limited court-time she was able to train alongside and learn from Opals point guard Leilani Mitchell during the 2019/20 season with the Flyers.
2019 and 2020 NBL1 season with the Frankston Blues
In 2019 a new league NBL1 was established as the premier winter basketball league in Southern Australia consisting of 18 teams, succeeding the South Eastern Basketball League (SEABL) which was disbanded.
For the second year in a row Reid played state league basketball for Frankston in 2019. Jess May was appointed head coach of the Frankston Blues and was in her first season being a head coach of a senior team at state league level. Reid was the Frankston Blues captain for the 2019 season and was joined on the team by former University of Buffalo teammate Courtney Wilkins.
During the 2019 NBL1 season playing for the Frankston Blues Reid set a new league record, scoring 50 points in a victory against Launceston Tornadoes in a home game at Frankston on Saturday night 4 May with an exceptional shooting performance, making 19 of 25 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 76% and was even more impressive from long range, making seven of eight three-pointers at an accuracy of 87.5%. Reid also contributed with tenacious defense, 10 assists and seven steals in Frankston’s victory.
Reid commented to fdba.com.au on her 50 point NBL1 game for Frankston “It felt like a blur, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything different. I was just in a mode out there. I was taking open shots but I’ve never been a shooter, I’m a pass first point guard. Seeing myself on the replay shoot back-to-back threes – I didn’t remember taking them. A year or even six months ago I wouldn’t have taken those shots but I have been putting in a lot of work.”9
Following her 50 point game Reid was a guest on the 8 May 2019 episode of the NBL1 Show. Liam Santamaria asked “When did you know that you were on par or on target for 50?” Reid replied “For fifty, maybe half-time. In the first three minutes they called a time-out, I came to the bench and I think I had 11 or 15 and Jess was like ‘Just giving the ball to Steph.’” Santamaria commented ‘So that was the instruction to the team?’ Reid responded “That was just at that point because they couldn’t defend what we were running, we were just running a high on-ball. It worked, it kept working so we kept going with it and that just flowed. At half-time the team went crazy in the locker-room they were like ‘Steph you have 31 points.’”
During the 2019 NBL1 season with the Frankston Blues Reid played 15 games and averaged 21.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
NBL1 expanded for the 2020 season with the original NBL1 league which was comprised mainly of Victorian teams rebranded as NBL1 South. The former Queensland Basketball League was rebranded as NBL1 North and the former South Australian Premier League was rebranded NBL1 Central, both new NBL1 leagues were scheduled to commence in 2020.
Reid had signed with Frankston Blues for the 2020 NBL1 South season, however on 21 March, 2020 NBL1 released a statement saying “All three conferences of the forthcoming 2020 NBL1 season have been cancelled. The NBL in conjunction with Basketball Victoria, Basketball Queensland and Basketball South Australia have notified clubs of the decision not to proceed with the 2020 season. The decision follows the indefinite closure of indoor sports centres because of COVID-19. All three conferences, NBL1 South, NBL1 North and NBL1 Central, had already been postponed until May.”10
In July 2019 Reid was a member of the Emerging Opals team at the World University Games held in Napoli, Italy. Current Townsville Fire head coach Shannon Seebohm was the head coach of the Emerging Opals who won their first five games of the tournament to progress to the Gold Medal game against the United States of America.
At half-time of the gold medal game the Emerging Opals led USA 37-34. The Emerging Opals dominated the third quarter 29-14, to set up a 80-72 victory to win the gold medal. In the gold medal game Reid played 18 minutes off the bench, made two of three field goals, scored seven points and made two assists. Reid is one of six players from the Emerging Opals gold medal winning team from the 2019 World Uni Games that are in the Opals extended 21 player squad for the 2022 World Cup along with Anneli Maley, Maddison Rocci, Keely Froling, Ezi Magbegor and Lauren Scherf.
2020 WNBL season with JCU Townsville Fire
On 9 July 2020 JCU Townsville Fire announced that they had signed Reid for the 2020 WNBL season. Townsville head coach Shannon Seebohm told WNBL Media “I think Steph is going to be a great fit in our program. She has performed at a very high level in the NBL1 & SEABL over the past two seasons and I know she is hungry for more opportunity to make her mark in the WNBL. I really like her ability to guard the ball in the full court and think she has the potential to develop into a great WNBL player within our program.”11
After signing with Townsville Reid commented “I am so excited to be a part of the Fire this year! I am really grateful to have the opportunity to play for Shannon again and play with such a great group of ladies! I am also really excited to be a part of the Townsville community which I have heard so many great things about!”12
Whilst State League basketball was unable to be played in Victoria during 2020 due to COVID-19 and restrictions on the use of indoor sports stadiums the COVID-19 cases were significantly lower in Queensland and basketball leagues were able to resume later in the year in that state. A condensed Queensland Basketball League season was played in 2020.
Reid joined the Northside Wizards for the 2020 QBL season. In a Northside Wizards 100-95 victory against USC Rip City Reid scored 44 points. Reid’s former University of Buffalo teammates Katherine and Liisa Ups were playing for USC Rip City. In seven games for the Northside Wizards Reid averaged 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists whilst shooting the ball at 45.6% from the field.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 the 2020 WNBL season had a very different structure to previous seasons and imports weren’t eligible to play in the league. All eight WNBL clubs were located in North Queensland for the duration of the 2020 WNBL season which was played at three locations, Townsville, Cairns and Mackay. The regular season was condensed to five rounds commencing 11 November and each team played 13 regular season games.
Townsville Fire’s starting line-up in 2020 was Australian Opals squad members Shyla Heal and Lauren Nicholson in the backcourt along with Mia Murray, Nadeen Payne and Megan McKay in the front-court. Reid was one of three players in the core rotation off the bench to average more than 15 minutes game-time along with power forward/centre Zitina Aokuso and shooting guard Kate Gaze.
At Townsville Stadium on 24 November Reid scored four points, made two of four field goal attempts, had a game-high eight assists and an equal game-high three steals in a 99-51 victory against Bendigo Spirit.
In Townsville’s penultimate game of the regular season Reid scored 17 points, made six of eight field goals at an accuracy of 75% which was comprised of making three of four two point shots and three of four three-pointers, took two rebounds, made three assists and one steal during 19 minutes and 36 seconds court-time in a 95-66 victory against Adelaide Lightning at Cairns Pop-Up Arena on 11 December.
Townsville finished second on the WNBL ladder with nine wins and four losses and played minor premiers Southside Flyers in a semi final. Southside dominated the opening quarter of the major semi final 41-25 and defeated Townsville 106-93. Townsville defeated Melbourne in a thrilling preliminary final 65-62 to progress to the Grand Final.
Very little separated Townsville and Southside during the first half of the Grand Final at Townsville Stadium on Sunday 20 December and Southside led 48-46 at half-time. Southside outscored Townsville 23-15 in the third quarter and went on to win the Grand Final 99-82. In the Grand Final Reid scored seven points, made two of her five field goal attempts and one of two three-pointers.
During the 2020 WNBL season Reid played all 16 games for Townsville and averaged 6.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.8 steals per game. Reid was an efficient shooter, having a field goal accuracy of 47.9% from the field, 46.7% for three-pointers and 89.5% for free-throws.
Aokuso and Reid both finished in the top four of the WNBL’s Gatorade Sixth Woman of the Year Award which highlighted the depth Townsville had. Aokuso polled 19 votes to win the award, two votes ahead of veteran University of Canberra Capitals forward Kelsey Griffin. Reid finished equal third with Sydney guard Funda Nakkasoglu on 13 votes.
Townsville Fire featured prominently at the 2020 WNBL End of Season Awards with Shyla Heal being named the Betty Watson Australian Youth Player of the Year and Seebohm winning the WNBL Coach of the Year Award. Both members of Townsville’s starting backcourt were selected in an All-WNBL team, Nicholson was selected in the first team and finished third in the WNBL MVP award and Heal was selected in the All-WNBL second team.
2021 NBL1 North season with the Townsville Flames
Reid signed with the Townsville Flames for the 2021 NBL1 season which enabled her to continue her development in Townsville and be coached all-year round by Shannon Seebohm who is the head coach of the Townsville Flames. Seebohm commented to townsvillebasketball.com “I’m thrilled to have Steph join the Flames for the upcoming NBL1 season. Coming off the back of a breakout WNBL campaign with the Townsville Fire, I think she is going to be one of the most exciting players in the NBL1 North competition”13 Reid was one of two players from Townsville Fire’s 2020 roster at the Flames in 2021 along with Mia Murray and they were joined by two past Fire players in Micaela Cocks and Cherie Gallagher.
During the 1 June 2021 episode of The NBL 1 Show Peter Hooley asked “Why do you love playing for him (Shannon Seebohm) so much?” Reid responded “To be honest he is just so invested in his players and the thing about Shannon is he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. What you see is what you get. He is always watching film, he watches more film than any coach I have seen. He is always trying to get better as a coach and if you have someone like that he is obviously going to invest himself in his players and making sure that the people around him are better too. Every day you are in the gym he is teaching you something new and I am loving every aspect of that. I feel like I grow every day. He knows so much about the game but he is so willing to share it. He is just a really good coach.”
In a Round 4 road game Townsville played the undefeated Gold Coast Rollers at Carrara Stadium on Sunday 6 June. The Flames controlled the second quarter 26-6 to set up an 89-69 win and inflict the Rollers first defeat of the season. Reid put on a shooting exhibition making 13 of 19 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 68.4% and five of eight three-pointers at 62.5% to score 37 points. Reid contributed in other facets as well, taking seven rebounds and made seven assists.
During a Townsville Flames 75-44 victory against Gold Coast Rollers on 28 August 2021 at Townsville StarFM Stadium Reid registered a triple-double comprised of 17 points, a team-high 12 rebounds and a game-high 12 assists.
Reid played 13 regular season games for the Townsville Flames during the 2021 NBL 1 season and excelled to average 20.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Reid was recognised for her outstanding season by being named in the 2021 NBL1 North All-Star five along with Cayla George, Nadeen Payne, Maddison Rocci and Mikaela Ruef.
Reid wins Townsville Fire’s 2021/22 Most Valuable Player Award
In mid-April 2021 Townsville Fire announced that Reid had signed with them for the next two WNBL seasons. Townsville General Manager Sam Pascoe commented “I think she showcased her abilities last season — she knew her role and executed her role brilliantly for Shannon. She became a crowd favourite rather quickly last season and we are really excited to have her back. She has taken on the role as our school ambassador and having her here all year and in the community, we couldn’t ask for a better role model in the community. I think that having Shannon as her coach all year round, there is a reason he was coach of the year and I believe, like every player that comes into our system, he brings out the best in all of our players. She is a player we can see being at the club long term.”14
Six of the nine players in Townsville Fire’s core rotation that averaged at least 12.0 minutes per game in 2020 returned in 2021/22, with Reid being joined in this category by Nicholson, Payne, Aokuso, Murray and Woods. The three core rotation players from 2020 that joined rival WNBL clubs for the 2021/22 season were Heal (joined Sydney), McKay (Bendigo) and Gaze (Southside).
Townsville recruited American import duo Monique Billings and Sug Sutton. The Fire welcomed back 2015/16 Rachel Sporn medallist and former Townsville captain Micaela Cocks for her 10th season with the club after missing the 2020 hub season.
Early in the 2021/22 season Townsville’s full-strength starting line-up was Sug Sutton and Lauren Nicholson in the back-court along with Mia Murray, Monique Billings and Zitina Aokuso in the front-court. With point guard Sutton missing Townsville’s season opener on the road against Adelaide Lightning at the Lights Community and Sports Centre on Saturday 11 December Reid was promoted into the Fire’s starting line-up to make the first start of her WNBL career.
Steph Reid playing for Townsville Fire against Southside Flyers at Dandenong Stadium on 23 December 2021
Appearing on Basketball Queensland’s In the North Episode 19 with Steph Reid and Lamar Paterson published on 21 December 2021 Reid commented “First game I’ll admit I was pretty nervous, I mean it was my first time starting in the WNBL and to do it on a season-opener it was a bit nerve-racking but it was exciting. Going in it is just about knowing that you are prepared. Shannon does a really good job of making sure we know that and he makes sure we know our role as well. Knowing that I have got to go in and do what is required of me, run the team. My focus is to make sure that others are in opportunities to score, make sure that I knew all the plays and knew what to run for everybody, that was my focus going in.“ Against Adelaide Reid scored six points and made an equal game-high six assists along with teammate Nicholson, playing 25 minutes and three seconds court-time in the Fire’s 70-59 victory.
Appearing on Basketball Queensland’s In the North Episode 19 with Steph Reid and Lamar Paterson published on 21 December 2021 Reid spoke about the similarities and differences playing for Seebohm in both NBL1 and the WNBL, commenting “We had a lot of different plays coming into WNBL. You know for NBL1 we didn’t have a true 5 man for a lot of the year so we played a lot of small ball, it is nice to come back and play with some bigs again in WNBL so definitely some play tweaks.”
Due to injuries to her Townsville Fire teammates Reid took on more responsibility in the second half of the 2021/22 WNBL season and after playing over 30 minutes court-time in just one of Townsville’s first nine games of the season played over 30 minutes in each of the Fire’s last eight games of the season from 12 February onwards.
In a home game against the Sydney Uni Flames Reid shot the ball exceptionally, scoring 17 points and only missed one shot for the entire game in an 84-63 victory. Reid made six of seven field goal attempts at an accuracy of 85.7% and made all three three-pointers and both foul shots, took three rebounds, made a game-high seven assists and had two steals.
Against Bendigo Spirit in a home game on 17 February Reid registered a double-double comprised of 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 71-76 loss. Steph made four of six field goal attempts at an accuracy of 66.7%.
In February 2022 Reid spoke to The Pick And Roll about her approach to defense, saying “It’s something I pride myself on. I do a lot of coaching work, and I tell kids all the time: ‘Defence is 100% energy and effort’. It’s easy to come into every game confident when you control what you can control. That’s why I love defence, and it’s my favourite part of the game. I know I can bring that every game regardless of whether my shots hit or miss. I think it’s the most controllable aspect of the game, and I don’t think enough players at a junior or senior level really focus on it, so that’s how I try to separate myself and take pride in what I do.”15
In Townsville’s last game of the season on 20 March they trailed the finals bound Perth Lynx 59-62 with six minutes and 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. From that point on Reid made two assists and scored eight points comprised of a jump shot and three lay-ups to play a pivotal role in Townsville gaining the ascendancy and going on a 17-7 run to record an upset 76-69 victory over Perth at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre. Reid finished the game with a team-high 23 points, took seven rebounds – ranked second for the Fire behind Aokuso (14) and made five assists in 38 minutes and 28 seconds court-time.
During the post-game interview on Fox Sports after Townsville’s victory against Perth Reid commented on her improvement during the 2021/22 season “I have just been working really hard, I have worked with Shannon all off-season, this is my second year with him now and he has a lot of trust and belief in me. He expects me to run the team and organise them and he has trusted me to do that all season. I think it is a big credit to him and the work that we have put in this season.”
Townsville Fire had seven wins and 10 losses during the 2021/22 regular season and finished sixth out of eight teams on the WNBL ladder. During the 2021/22 WNBL season Reid played all 17 games, for Townsville including 10 games as a starter and averaged 12.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 30.1 minutes per game to set career-highs in all five categories, increasing her scoring by 90% from 2020 whilst rebounds rose by 81% and assists increased by 272.2%. Reid ranked fourth in the WNBL for assists per game behind Steph Talbot (6.7 assists per game), Kelly Wilson (5.4) and Brittney Sykes (5.1). Reid led Townsville for assists per game, ranked second for steals and free-throws made behind Monique Billings in both categories, third in scoring behind Billings and Nicholson and second for minutes played behind Nicholson.
Reid scored at least 10 points in a game 11 times in 2021/22 including Townsville’s last nine games of the season. Reid made 34 of 36 free-throws at an accuracy of 94.4% – ranked third in the league amongst players that had at least 10 free-throws behind Southside Flyers duo Abby Bishop (95.5%) and Rachel Jarry (95%). Reid ranked 15th in the league for total free-throws made.
Steph Reid shooting a free-throw for Townsville Fire against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 25 February 2022
Reid was one of only four Fire players to play all 17 games during 2021/22 along with Aokuso, Murray and Cocks. Three of Townsville’s early season starters each missed at least five games with Nicholson playing 12 games, Billings 11 and Sutton 10. Reid led Townsville for total points scored with 204 ahead of Billings (175) and Nicholson (151).
Reid was a candidate in the WNBL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and finished fifth with six votes behind Brittney Sykes (30), Kalani Purcell (24), Steph Talbot (14) and Jackie Young (7).
For the second season in a row Reid was nominated for the WNBL’s Sixth Woman of the Year Award and finished fourth with 10 votes behind Kristy Wallace (22), Alex Ciabattoni (14) and Jade Melbourne (12).
At Townsville Fire’s end of season presentation at the Ville on 24 March Reid won the club’s 2021/22 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. Reid told WNBL Media “We have a really talented team and it’s an honour to be given such an award. I definitely would say that I work hard to make sure that I’m ready for any opportunity, and I got more of an opportunity then I expected, and I’d worked really hard in the off season with our coach Shannon, and I think that’s what it came down to in the end. I’m already really excited for next season and you know to try and be a little bit better again.”16
In addition to the MVP another four awards were handed out at Townsville’s 2021/22 end of season awards, Courtney Woods received two awards – the Commitment to Excellence Award and Players Player Award. Aliza Fabbro won the Coaches Award and Reid received a second award – ‘The Club Person of the Year’. Reid commented “I’m definitely proud to be the ‘Club Person of the Year’ it’s an award that is highly valued and I really appreciate being recognized for the work that I do in the community. It’s not something that I really regard as going out of my way. I’m just excited by the impact it has on the people here, particularly the kids, and I think that’s what the award is about.”17
On 14 April 2022 Reid was selected in the Australian Opals extended squad of 21 players for the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup to be held in Sydney, Australia from Thursday 22 September to Saturday 1 October.
After being named in the Opals extended squad for the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Reid told fdba.com.au “I’m obviously so overwhelmed by the feeling, it’s really exciting and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. Just excited to get to camp now and see how it goes. It’s always been a goal and it’s something I’ve tried to work towards, but I didn’t know this was going to be the year that it happened. I’m really excited and I’m ahead of schedule as to where I thought I would be at the start of this year so I’m pretty grateful for that as well.”18
Reid attended an Australian Opals camp in Sydney that commenced on Tuesday 24 May in the lead up to the three game series against Japan in New South Wales. Eight players in the Opals extended 21 player squad for the 2022 FIBA World Cup were unavailable for the camp due to playing commitments overseas including seven players in the WNBA – Steph Talbot and Ezi Magbegor (both with Seattle Storm), Bec Allen and Sami Whitcomb (both with New York Liberty), Kristy Wallace (Atlanta Dream), Alanna Smith (Indiana Fever) and Anneli Maley (Chicago Sky) whilst Mariana Tolo was finishing her season with Basket Landes in France. Due to illness Reid’s Townsville Fire teammate Zitina Aokuso was a late withdrawal from the Opals camp in Sydney. All 12 players that attended the Opals training camp that commenced in Sydney on 24 May played in the three game-series. Milestones and Misses published an article with Player Profiles for all 12 members of the Australian Opals team for the friendly series against Japan. A link to this article is below:
Due to WNBA commitments three members of the Australian Opals coaching staff were unavailable for the Opals training camp in Sydney and the three game series against Japan – Opals head coach Sandy Brondello (head coach of New York Liberty), Olaf Lange (assistant coach of New York Liberty) and Paul Goriss (assistant coach of Atlanta Dream). Australian Opals assistant coach Cheryl Chambers was the head coach of the Opals against Japan and Shannon Seebohm and Kristen Veal were assistants. Seebohm had coached Reid in the previous two WNBL seasons and Chambers was Reid’s head coach at the Southside Flyers in 2019/20.
The Opals starting line-up for game 1 against Japan at the Quaycentre, Sydney on Friday 27 May was Shyla Heal and Tess Madgen in the back-court along with Darcee Garbin, Sara Bliacvs and Cayla George in the front-court. Guard Madison Rocci was ruled out of game 1 due to a hamstring injury. Joining Reid on the bench for the Opals were Jade Melbourne, Lauren Nicholson, Bec Cole, Keely Froling and Lauren Scherf. Reid was one of two players making their Opals debut in game 1 along with Australian women’s 3×3 captain Cole.
With two minutes and 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter of game one Reid was substituted into the game for her first minutes as an Opal. With nine minutes and 11 seconds remaining in the second quarter Reid made a three-pointer, two minutes later she made a lay-up. In the Opals 72-66 victory against Japan Reid scored five points in nine minutes and 47 seconds court-time, made two of four field goals, took one rebound and made one assist.
Japan won game 2 56-55 at the Quaycentre on Sunday 29 May and defeated the Opals 69-67 in game 3 at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 31 May to win the series two games to one. Reid played less than five minutes game time in game 2 and didn’t have any court time in game 3. A third player Anneli Maley made her Opals debut in the series against Japan. After being released from her WNBA hardship contract with Chicago Sky Maley returned to Australia, was on the bench for game 2 and made her Opals debut in game 3.
On Wednesday June 1, the day after the Opals three game series in New South Wales against Japan concluded Reid posted on Instagram:
“This past 10 days had a lot of highlights, but I have to say the most surreal moment of all of it was having my idol present my Opals jersey to me for the first time.
Michele Timms was the first Australian PG I ever looked up to and someone I’ve always tried to grow my game to be like.
What an honour and a privilege it was to represent my country, but to do it in front of my idol just made it all the more special”19
Reid will be attending an Australian Opals camp in late June at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). The 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup will be held in Sydney, Australia from Thursday 22 September to Saturday 1 October. Australia are in group B along with Japan, France, Serbia, Mali and Canada. Each nation will play five games comprised of one game against each of the other five nations in their group. The top four teams from each group will qualify for the quarter finals which will all be played on Thursday 29 September. The members of the Opals extended 21 player World Cup squad that are playing in the WNBA wont be able to attend the Opals training camp late this month but will be available for the World Cup.
2022 NBL1 North season with the Townsville Flames
Reid is currently playing her second consecutive NBL1 season for the Townsville Flames in the NBL1 North Conference with Shannon Seebohm as the head coach. The Flames have a strong Townsville Fire contingent with Reid being joined by three players from the Fire’s 2021/22 roster – Courtney Woods, Mia Murray and Aliza Fabbro.
Townsville Flames season commenced on 29 April and Reid scored at least 20 points in two of the club’s first three games of the season. In an 88-77 Townsville victory against Darwin Salties at Townsville StarFM Stadium on 20 May Reid scored a game-high 29 points, made 12 of 21 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 57.1%, took seven rebounds, had a team-high seven assists and made three steals playing the full 40 minutes.
Due to Australian Opals commitments for the three game series against Japan held during late May in New South Wales Reid missed Townsville’s Round 5 encounter against Rockhampton Cyclones. In her first game with Townsville after her Opals debut Reid scored 23 points at an accuracy of 50% from the field including making all three-pointers, took eight rebounds, made nine assists and four steals to set game-highs for the latter two categories playing 26 minutes and 38 seconds court-time in a Flames 97-53 victory against Gold Coast Rollers at Townsville StarFM Stadium on 4 June.
After Round 6 Townsville Flames have won all six games to be on top of the NBL1 North ladder and are one of only two undefeated teams in the 16 team conference along with Logan Thunder who have five wins. Reid has played five of Townsville’s six games and is averaging 22.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Reid ranks third in NBL1 for assists per game and sixth for scoring. Two other Townsville players rank in the top five of NBL1 North for one of the three major statistical categories with Courtney Woods ranking third in scoring (26.5 points per game) and Jaimee Seebohm ranking fifth for rebounds (11.2 rebounds per game).
Townsville’s 2022 NBL1 North regular season concludes in just under two months with an away game against Cairns Dolphins at Early Settlor Stadium on Saturday 6 August.
Upcoming 2022/23 WNBL season with Townsville Fire
In 2022/23 Reid will be playing her third consecutive WNBL season for Townsville Fire. Before free agency commenced on 2 May 2022 five players from Townsville’s 2021/22 roster had signed to play for the club in 2022/23 with Reid being joined in this category by Nicholson, Aokuso, Woods and McSpadden. Earlier today, June 9 Townsville Fire announced that they had signed forward Mikaela Ruef for the 2022/23 WNBL season.
On 3 June 2022 the WNBL released the key dates for the 2022/23 WNBL season, the regular season commences on 3 November and concludes on 5 March 2023. Each of the eight teams will play 21 games during the regular season. Head of WNBL, Christy Collier-Hill commented “This will be the first time in two seasons (due to COVID) that we get to have a ‘regular’ home and away season. This means teams will have 10 or 11 home games back in front of their fans, supporters and partners, which is very exciting. On top of this Clubs will be able to re-engage with the basketball and broader communities, which they’ve been really limited in being able to do over the past few years. It’s a really exciting time for women’s basketball and the WNBL.”20
At five years of age Reid commenced playing basketball at Frankston and progressed to play representative basketball for the Frankston Blues. Reid never made a junior Victorian state team let alone an Australian under-age team.
Reid focused on working hard on matters within her control including defense, effort and basketball IQ which has contributed to her being successful at several levels of basketball after juniors. In all three full seasons at University of Buffalo Reid was selected in the MAC All-Defensive team and earned All-MAC team honours twice. Reid was the starting point guard on a University of Buffalo team that made history, winning the MAC Women’s tournament for the first time in the Buffs history in 2016. In 2018 Buffalo won a game in the NCAA Women’s tournament for the first time, advancing to the sweet 16. Reid made a buzzer-beating match winner in overtime for the Bulls in the 2016 MAC Championship game and was named MVP of the Tournament. At the end of her college career Reid was ranked first for career assists at Buffalo.
At state league level Reid set a single game scoring record, scoring 50 points for the Frankston Blues against Launceston in the inaugural 2019 NBL1 season. Reid is in in her second NBL1 North season for the Townsville Flames, having earned selection in the 2019 All NBL team.
Reid played limited court-time in seven WNBL games in her first two seasons with the Dandenong Rangers in 2018/19 and the Southside Flyers in 2019/20. During 2020 Reid was a member of the core rotation on a Townsville Fire team that made the Grand Final. Steph Reid had a meteoric rise during a breakout 2021/22 WNBL season with Townsville Fire, making the most of increased opportunities to rank equal fourth in the league for assists per game, won Townsville’s Most Valuable Player Award and was nominated for the WNBL’s Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year Award.
One of Steph Reid’s major goals was to represent the Australian Opals. After her outstanding 2021/22 WNBL season Reid was named in the Australian Opals extended 21 player World Cup squad and made her Opals debut in the three game series held in New South Wales against Japan during the last week of May 2022, demonstrating the great heights you can reach when when you focus on matters within your control and have a strong work ethic.
Article and photographs by Dean Andrews
Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777
Milestones and Misses
Milestones and Misses publishes articles to celebrate the achievements of sportspeople, mainly in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and Australian Rules Football (AFL and AFLW). In sport as with life in general it is common that milestones are only achieved after overcoming adversity, so whilst the articles on the Milestones and Misses website celebrate sportspeople achieving milestones they also cover the misses along the journey such as a player having minimal game-time or spending a prolonged period on the sidelines due to injury. The aim of the articles is to enable readers to gain a greater appreciation of the journey sportspeople have had during their career.
A link to Milestones and Misses homepage and WNBL category is below:
The Milestones and Misses website was set up in December 2015. From 2020 onwards articles have been published on the following sportspeople: