Chelsea Brook’s journey from South Australian country town Truro to reach 100 WNBL games with Adelaide Lightning

Power forward/centre Chelsea Brook has played her entire WNBL career with Adelaide Lightning and halfway through her seventh season with the club reaches 100 WNBL games tonight, Thursday 12 January. Brook achieves the milestone at 24 years of age in Round 10 of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season in a home game at Adelaide Arena against Sydney Flames.

Brook grew up in the South Australian Country town of Truro, progressed through the pathway to represent SA Country at Australian Junior Championships in the Under 16’s and Under 18’s before playing in the South Australian Premier League at senior level with Norwood. At just 19 years of age Brook playing for Sturt won the 2018 Halls Medal in the Premier League for the fairest and most brilliant player.

Whilst still in High School Brook moved from Truro to Adelaide to make her WNBL debut with Adelaide Lightning during the 2016/17 season. In her first three seasons with Adelaide Brook played a total of 33 games and averaged less than 6.0 minutes per game in each season. Brook was a member of the Adelaide Lightning team that made the 2018/19 WNBL Grand Final.

In 2017 Brook was a member of the Emerging Opals team won a gold medal at the World University Games held in Taipei.

From 2019/20 onwards 189 centimetre tall Brook has been a member of Adelaide’s core rotation and has averaged more than 16.0 minutes per game in all four seasons. In each of the past three completed WNBL seasons from 2019/20 to 2021/22 Brook has averaged more than 6.5 points per game. Brook was a starter for Adelaide during the 2020 WNBL hub season played in North Queensland. With the return of imports Brook predominantly played off the bench in 2021/22 and finished fifth in the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year Award. 

During 2019 Brook played for the Eltham Wildcats in the NBL1 season in Victoria. Playing for Mackay Meteorettes Brook led the NBL1 North Conference for blocked shots in 2021. Brook played for the Darwin Salties based in the Northern Territory during the 2022 NBL1 North season and will be suiting up for Darwin again in 2023.

Tonight Brook will become the 27th player on a 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL roster that has reached 100 WNBL games during their career and the third Adelaide Lightning player in this category, joining Steph Talbot (177 games) and Lauren Mansfield (167).

Brook’s basketball career from juniors in South Australia though to playing in state leagues and with the Adelaide Lightning in the WNBL is covered below:

Early life and junior career 

Chelsea Brook was born on 29 July 1998 and grew up in Truro, a South Australian country town with a population of approximately 500 people, located 95 kilometres northeast of Adelaide. In September 2020 Brook commented to WNBL Media on the start of her junior basketball career, saying “My family had a huge influence on my basketball career, I was involved in our local Barossa Valley association from the age of four, my parents would coach my older sister’s team and I would fill in and always be out at trainings joining in. They pushed for me to play District Basketball with the Norwood Flames and would drive me to Adelaide twice a week so I could play, throughout my SA Country Basketball career they would give up their weekends to drive me to state trainings and tournaments all around South Australia and ensured I had every opportunity to be successful.”1

Brook commenced her junior career playing for the Truro Takers at four years of age and continued playing basketball in the Barossa Valley Association until she was 18 years old and started her WNBL career with the Adelaide Lightning. Late in her junior career Brook also played District Basketball with Norwood Flames.

During Player Profiles: Chelsea Brook, Adelaide Lightning Podcast, Episode 1 Brook spoke about growing up in Truro, saying “I guess I just didn’t know any different, I went to the primary school there and we had 40 kids, when I was in Year 7 there was three kids in year 7 with me. I loved it, I literally loved it so much. It was a really tight-knit community. I enjoyed the country and I for sure love that I stayed in the country for as long as I did before coming down to the city. My family is still out there, my parents are still out there so it is nice to have that refreshing change of scenery every now and then. I think now that I have moved away definitely come back to appreciate it more, like the Barossa.”

At under-age level Brook represented South Australia Country at Australian Junior Championships in the Under 16’s and Under 18’s. At the 2015 Under 18 Australian Junior Championships held in Ballarat in mid-April Brook was a member of the South Australian Country team that won the silver medal. Vic Metro defeated the SA Country in the final. Brook was one of the best performing front-court players at the tournament, averaging 14.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per game. 

In the Under 20’s Brook played for South Australia with the country and metro regions unifying to form one team. Brook captained the bronze medal winning South Australian team at the 2017 Under 20 Australian Junior Championships.

On her progression through basketball pathways and the support she received from family and friends Brook told in September 2020 “Growing up I was very lucky to have parents who supported me every step of the way. I went through the SA Country Basketball program where I met some of my closest friends and had some of my favourite basketball memories. Being a country program meant there were athletes from right across South Australia and we would spend weekends at a time together, training, sleeping constantly being together which meant we built incredible bonds and playing together was even more enjoyable.”2 

Playing in the South Australian Premier League from 2015 to 2018

From 2015 to 2017 Brook played three consecutive seasons for the Norwood Flames at senior level in the South Australian Premier League. Former Adelaide Lightning captain Jess Foley was Norwood’s Playing Coach and former Adelaide Lightning Head Coach Vicki Valk was an Assistant Coach.

Brook was a member of the Norwood Flames team that won back-to-back Premier League Championships in 2015 and 2016. Norwood convincingly won both Grand Finals, defeating North Adelaide Rockets 59-42 in 2015 and had a 63-45 victory against the West Adelaide Bearcats in 2016.

During the 2016 regular season Brook won the Premier League statistical award for the top field goal percentage with an accuracy of 52%. Including finals Brook played 21 games for the Norwood Flames in 2016 and averaged 10.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 23.5 minutes per game. Brook shot at 53.8% from the field for the 2016 season, making 99 of 184 field goal attempts. In the 2017 Premier League season with Norwood Brook continued to improve and averaged 12.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 24.4 minutes per game in 16 games for the club.

For the 2018 South Australian Premier League (now NBL1 Central) season Brook joined Sturt who’s Head Coach Marcus Wong was also an Assistant Coach with Adelaide Lightning. On the move Brook told Basketball On The Internet “I mainly switched to Sturt because Marcus was able to do a lot of work with me. It wasn’t anything at Norwood but they couldn’t offer me that same level of training. People work and I understand that but Marcus was prepared to put a lot of extra time into me and did.”3

Playing for Sturt Brook excelled during the 2018 SA Premier League season and at just 19 years of age was recognised for her brilliant season by winning the Halls Medal for the fairest and most brilliant player. After each regular season game the referees cast votes for the Halls Medal.  Brook polled 38 votes to finish nine votes ahead of North Adelaide guard Leah Matcalf. Brook was also selected in the league’s All-Star Five and received the Merv Harris Medal as the highest vote getter in the Halls Medal under 21 years of age. During the 2018 Premier League season Brook played 13 games for Sturt including finals and averaged 16.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.5 blocked shots and 31.0 minutes per game.

Playing in the WNBL with Adelaide Lightning from 2016/17 to 2019/20

Whilst still in Year 12 Brook made her WNBL debut at 18 years of age with Adelaide Lightning in the first fortnight of the 2016/17 season. Chris Lucas was in the first season of his second stint as Adelaide’s Head Coach having previously coached the Lightning from 2004/05 to 2007/08. Lucas was the Head Coach of Townsville Fire for five seasons from 2011/12 to 2015/16 with the club winning back to back championships in 2014/15 and 2015/16. During the 2016/17 season Brook was able to train alongside and learn from experienced Adelaide forwards Laura Hodges and Colleen Planeta. Adelaide were rebuilding in 2016/17 and had several WNBL rookies on the roster including Brook, Anneli Maley and Sarah Elsworthy. At the start of her WNBL career Brook was able to be mentored by one of her biggest role models in four-time Olympian Hodges. 

Reflecting on her debut 2016/17 WNBL season with Adelaide Lightning Brook told The Barossa Mag “Chris came out to my Premier League game when I was playing for Norwood but I never really expected to get a contract – I still had three months of Year 12 to go. That first year was very different, low-budget. Lightning had been on the decline and they decided to strip everything back and rebuild – six of us were rookies who hadn’t played WNBL before. That was almost one of my favourite years; we weren’t winning many games but it was fun. Chris understood that and wanted us to do the best we could while we gained experience.”4

Chelsea Brook playing for Adelaide Lightning against Dandenong Rangers at the State Basketball Centre on 25 November 2017

During Brook’s first three seasons with Adelaide Lightning the club improved significantly. After winning three games in 2016/17 Adelaide finished fifth on the ladder in 2017/18 with 11 wins and made it back to the finals in 2018/19, having 13 wins and eight losses to finish third. In the 2018/19 semi final series Adelaide defeated Melbourne Boomers two games to nil. The University of Canberra Capitals defeated Adelaide 88-67 in game one of the 2018/19 Grand Final series. Adelaide won a thrilling game 2 at Adelaide Arena 74-73 after a Nicole Seekamp field goal at the end of the fourth quarter was controversially counted. Adelaide led 15-8 half-way through the first quarter in game 3, however Canberra gained the lead late in the first half and went on to defeat Adelaide 93-73.

In November 2021 Brook spoke to Adelaide Lightning Podcast about Adelaide’s game 2 victory against Canberra in the 2018/19 Grand Final, saying “We won literally on the buzzer at home, the crowd was going nuts. You couldn’t hear anything, you could see the timer had gone off but you couldn’t hear the siren, to be able to do that at home, it was crazy. It was a crazy, crazy experience and a crazy feeling. The news coverage was a platform for us going forward the next season, our crowds got bigger and we started playing a really, really good brand of basketball. As far as my favourite Lightning memory that by far still sits at the top of my head.”

Adelaide’s improvement meant that competition within the team for court-time increased from 2016/17 to 2018/19. In her first three seasons with Adelaide Lightning Brook played limited minutes, averaging less than 6.0 minutes per game in all three seasons. Brook played a total of 33 games for Adelaide from 2016/17 to 2018/19 and averaged 1.5 points per game. Over this period Brook made 22 of 47 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 46.8%. Adelaide’s core rotation of eight players that averaged more than 12.0 minutes per game in 2018/19 was Nia Coffey, Lauren Nicholson, club captain Nicole Seekamp, Kayla Alexander, Steph Blicavs (nee Cumming), Colleen Planeta, Aimie Rocci (nee Clydesdale) and Penina Davidson. Brook was one of four players that averaged less than 7.0 minutes per game.

Chelsea Brook shooting a free-throw during the warm-up for Adelaide Lightning’s game against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 27 January 2019

On Adelaide’s performance in 2018/19 and her progression since making her WNBL debut Brook told The Barossa Mag “We’re one of the top two teams so every week I’m training against the best in the competition – I mean, Nia Coffey could go MVP (most valuable player). Sometimes that’s more important than getting minutes on the court. How you see us play is how we train. Afterwards we step off the court and everything’s fine, but we definitely go after each other. I think three years ago that wasn’t in my nature but that fight has definitely come out in me.”5

Adelaide Lightning had a new look roster for 2019/20 with guard Seekamp and guard/forward  Nicholson being the only two players from Adelaide’s 2018/19 core rotation that returned to the club. Adelaide’s off-season recruits included 2016 Opals Olympian Steph Talbot and American front-court imports Crystal Langhorne and Brianna Turner.

Brook had a breakout game in Adelaide’s opening game of the 2019/20 season to score a career-high 19 points and take four rebounds in 19 minutes and 34 seconds court-time off the bench in the Lightning’s 89-79 victory against Sydney Flames on 11 October 2019. Brook shot the ball proficiently to make 8 of 13 field goals at an accuracy of 61.5% and three of five three-pointers at 60% in the home game at Adelaide Arena. Brook was Adelaide’s second highest scorer for the game behind Langhorne who registered a double double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Langhorne was unable to play again for Adelaide in 2019/20 due to a knee injury and returned to America.

Brook and current Adelaide Head Coach Nat Hurst were members of Adelaide’s core rotation in 2019/20. Later in the season import Kathryn Westbeld joined the Lightning. 

Chelsea Brook in a huddle with Adelaide Lightning teammates before a game against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2019

In a home game at Adelaide Arena on 9 November Brook scored 16 points and took six rebounds in Adelaide’s 105-77 victory against Bendigo Spirit at Adelaide Arena. Brook shot the ball proficiently to make six of 11 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 54.5%, two of four three-pointers at 50% and both free-throws.

Against Bendigo Spirit in a home game at Adelaide Arena on 15 December Brook scored 16 points and took three rebounds in just 13 minutes and 52 seconds court-time in the Lightning’s 91-75 victory. Brook shot the ball superbly to make all three three-pointers and had an accuracy of 71.4% from the field.

Adelaide finished the 2019/20 regular season in fourth place with 12 wins and nine losses to finish four games ahead of the fifth placed Perth Lynx and three games behind the third placed Melbourne Boomers. In a semi final Adelaide played minor premiers the Southside Flyers who had 17 wins and four losses during the regular season. Adelaide were defeated in a close semi-final series two games to nil, losing both games by three points, 65-68 on the road in game 1 and 79-82 at home in game 2. In game 1 of the semi final series Brook scored 11 points and took four rebounds.   

During 2019/20 Brook played all 23 games for Adelaide Lightning and averaged 7.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 16.2 minutes per game. Among players that played at least five games for the season Brook ranked sixth at Adelaide in points per game, seventh for rebounds and minutes played. Shooting accuracy was a major strength of Brook’s and among players that played at least five games she led Adelaide with a field goal accuracy of 51.5% and a three-point accuracy of 42.3% and ranked second with a free-throw accuracy of 84.2%. Brook’s 22 three-pointers made ranked third at the Lightning behind Steph Talbot (36) and Lauren Nicholson (31).

2020 WNBL hub season as a starter for Adelaide Lightning

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.

Brook was one of only two players along with Talbot that returned from Adelaide’s 2019/20 roster for the 2020 season in a playing capacity however after playing for the Lightning in 2019/20 Nat Hurst was an Assistant Coach in 2020.

When Adelaide Lightning were at full-strength during the 2020 WNBL season Brook started in the front-court along with Talbot and Marena Whittle with Abbey Wehrung and Alex Wilson starting in the back-court.

In Adelaide’s 74-69 victory against Perth on 15 November at McDonalds Mackay Multi Sports Stadium Brook scored eight points, took nine rebounds, made three assists and blocked one shot. Brook took a game-high six offensive rebounds – three more than the second ranked player for the game. It was Adelaide’s second consecutive win in Mackay to start the 2020 season, having defeated the University of Canberra Capitals in overtime in the season-opener on 11 November.

Adelaide had travelled to Townsville and were scheduled to play their third game of the season on Tuesday 17 November against the Southside Flyers however Basketball Australia released a statement on the afternoon of the game saying that the game had been postponed. The first three paragraphs of the statement are below:

“Basketball Australia has had to postpone this afternoon’s 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL Round 2 match featuring the Jayco Southside Flyers and Adelaide Lightning in Townsville (5.00pm local tip off).

On Monday 16 November, the Queensland Government advised the Australian public that anyone who had entered the state of Queensland from South Australia on or after Monday 9 November must self-isolate until they have been tested for COVID-19. The Lightning departed Adelaide at 6:10am (local) on Monday 9 November on a direct flight to Brisbane.

Queensland Health has this afternoon confirmed to Basketball Australia that Adelaide Lightning will need to remain in self quarantine in Townsville until Monday 23 November, having been isolated and confined to their accommodation since Monday afternoon’s announcement by the Queensland Government.”6

If Adelaide Lightning had travelled from Adelaide to Queensland just one day earlier on the Sunday they wouldn’t have been required to self quarantine in Townsville. Adelaide Lightning played their third game of the 2020 WNBL season on Tuesday 24 November against the Melbourne Boomers and from then until their 13th and final regular season game on 13 December they had a very heavy schedule, playing 11 games in 20 days.

Against the Southside Flyers on 2 December at Cairns Pop-Up Arena Brook scored 12 points, took seven rebounds and made two assists. Brook shot the ball efficiently to make five of nine field goal attempts at an accuracy of 55.6% and two of three shots from behind the arc at 66.7%.

On 6 December against Perth Lynx Brook scored 16 points, took four rebounds, made two assists and blocked one shot in a 78-80 loss at Townsville Stadium. Brook made six of 12 field goal attempts at 50% and four of seven three-pointers at 57.1%.

After winning four of their first five games Adelaide Lightning only won one more game for the season to finish in sixth place with a record of five wins and eight losses, four games behind the teams that finished second to fourth in Townsville, Canberra and Melbourne and six games behind minor premiers the Southside Flyers.

During the 2020 hub season Brook played 12 of a possible 13 games for Adelaide and averaged 9.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 26.8 minutes court-time per game. Brook ranked equal second at Adelaide for blocked shots per game, equal third for three-pointers and fourth for points, rebounds and minutes played.

Playing in NBL1 conferences from 2019 to 2022

After winning the 2018 Halls Medal playing for Sturt in the South Australian Premier League Brook joined the Eltham Wildcats in NBL1 (now known as NBL1 South) in Victoria for the 2019 season. 189 centimetre tall Brook commented to WNBL Media on the move in early May 2019, saying “I struggled to go from Premier League to WNBL, where I’m not a big body. I’ve been doing strength work to be bigger and more competitive in the post. This is definitely a much stronger competition.”7

During the 2019 NBL1 season Brook averaged 12.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Brook shot the ball proficiently throughout the season to have a field goal accuracy of 52% and a three-point accuracy of 43%.

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.

Brook signed to play with Knox Raiders for the 2020 NBL1 South season. 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.”8

After playing in North Queensland during the 2020 WNBL hub season Brook wanted to play in Queensland during the 2021 NBL1 North season and signed with the Mackay Meteorettes. At Mackay Brook was teammates with Australian Opals power forward/centre Cayla George.

After a dominant Round 1 performance for Mackay against Cairns with 37 points, 11 rebounds and five assists Brook was named the NBL1 North Conference Women’s Player of the Week for Round 1 2021 and in the process became the first player to win the award for the NBL1 North Conference.

Late in the season Brook received another Player of the Week award for a 32 point, 23 rebound performance at home against Cairns Dolphins. Mackay were defeated in a semi final by Southern District Spartans.  

Brook won the award for being the NBL1 North women’s blocks leader in 2021. Mackay teammate George who won the conference’s MVP Award. Brook played 16 games for Mackay in 2021 and averaged 19.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.5 blocked shots per game.

For the 2022 NBL1 North season Brook joined the Darwin Salties who were playing their inaugural season and were named after the Northern Territory’s most famous animal – saltwater crocodiles. After Brook signed with the Darwin Salties Women’s Head Coach Rod Tremlett told in mid-January 2022 “We couldn’t be more excited about Chelsea’s signing in our inaugural season. Chelsea is a genuine WNBL level talent shown by her outstanding start to the season with the Adelaide Lightning this year. In my view, Chelsea was a top five player in the NBL1 North last season. She brings all-round talents to the court whether that be scoring, rebounding or blocking shots. Importantly, off the court Chelsea is an outstanding person, just the type of player we are looking for to be a role model for young Territory girls invested in our sport. We can’t wait for Chelsea to get to Darwin and take up a leadership role in our team in 2022.”9

In the four seasons that Brook played state league basketball from 2018 to 2022 she played in four different states or territories – in South Australia for Sturt in 2018, in Victoria for Eltham in 2019, in Queensland for Mackay in 2021 and in the Northern Territory for Darwin in 2022.  

During the 2022 NBL1 season Brook played 18 games for the Darwin Salties and averaged 15.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Brook has signed with the Darwin Salties for the 2023 NBL1 North season.

2021/22 WNBL season as a core rotation player for Adelaide Lightning

Reflecting on her WNBL career and the influence Chris Lucas has had on her Brook commented in November 2021 during Player Profiles: Chelsea Brook, Adelaide Lightning, episode 1 “This is my sixth (WNBL) year, I was 17, I was super shy, I was a bit up in the air about where I wanted to go in basketball, I was content with where I had gotten. I remember when he came out to one of our Premier League games and he messaged me and wanted to have a chat. He was super impressed with my play and I was a bit gobsmacked, I was like ‘Oh what’. I am just this 17 year old girl that is shy, didn’t want the ball too much. After that initial conversation it sort of sparked something in me that made me be like ‘Oh I can really do this, I could actually make a career out of this’. For six years he has stuck by me. He has been a big part of my basketball journey and probably the sole reason I am where I am today. He has pushed me and really believed in me, I don’t think I would have still been playing basketball if it wasn’t for him.”

Head Coach Chris Lucas addressing Adelaide Lightning players at a time-out during their game against Southside Flyers at Dandenong Stadium on 19 February 2022

Seven of the 10 players from Adelaide’s 2020 roster that played at least 10 games and averaged more than 7.5 minutes per game returned to the club in 2021/22, a quartet of starters in Brook, Talbot, Wehrung and Whittle along with two guards who played off the bench –  Taylor Ortlepp and Brooke Basham and forward/centre Ella Batish. Adelaide Lightning strengthened their 2021/22 roster with the addition of three players that played in the WNBA during 2021, Australian Opal Alanna Smith and American import duo Kiana Williams and Kylie Shook.

Head Coach Chris Lucas addressing

In Adelaide’s opening game of 2021/22 at home on 11 December Wehrung and Williams started in the back-court and Talbot, Smith and Shook started in the front-court. Adelaide’s nine player core rotation was completed by Brook, Whittle, Samantha Simons and Taylor Ortlepp. 

On 19 December in Adelaide’s first road game of the season against the University of Canberra Capitals Brook scored 12 points, took five rebounds, made two assists and blocked one shot in the Lightning’s 88-62 win. Brook made four of seven field goal attempts at an accuracy of 57.1% and all three free-throws.

Chelsea Brook shooting a free throw for Adelaide Lightning against Southside Flyers at Dandenong Stadium on 19 February 2022

Against Perth on 2 January in a home game at The Lights Community Sports Centre Brook scored 14 points in the Lightning’s 88-86 victory. Brook made all four two point attempts and two of four three-pointers for a field goal accuracy of 75%.

With Steph Talbot and Alanna Smith on Opals duties at the 2022 World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Serbia Brook started for Adelaide in their home game against Bendigo Spirit on 5 February. Chelsea made five of nine field goal attempts at an accuracy of 55.6%, scored a team-high 16 points, took five rebounds and made two steals.

Adelaide finished fourth at the end of the 2021/22 WNBL regular season with 10 wins and seven losses, two wins behind minor premiers Melbourne. Adelaide were defeated in both their semi final games by the Melbourne Boomers. 

Brook reached double figures in scoring five times for the 2021/22 season with all of these instances being in Adelaide’s first 10 games of the season. Brook played all 19 games for Adelaide in 2021/22 and averaged 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 20.2 minutes per game. Brook ranked fourth at Adelaide for blocked shots per game, fifth for points and rebounds and sixth for minutes played.  Brook had a field goal accuracy of 51.5% – ranked first at Adelaide and sixth in the WNBL among players that had at least five field goal attempts for the season. Brook made 17 of 19 free-throws in 2021/22 at an accuracy of 89.5%, ranked seventh in the league for accuracy among players that made at least 10 free-throws for the season. Brook was a nominee for the WNBL’s 2021/22 Sixth Woman of the Year award and polled eight votes to finish fifth.

Chelsea Brook driving to the basket for Adelaide Lightning against Southside Flyers at Dandenong Stadium on 19 February 2022

Representing Australia

At the 2017 World University Games held in Taipei Brook represented the Emerging Opals with Chris Lucas as the Head Coach. In a quarter final Australia defeated USA 79-74. The Emerging Opals defeated Japan in the final 85-78 to win the gold medal.

During Player Profiles: Chelsea Brook, Adelaide Lightning Podcast, Episode 1 published in November 2021 Brook commented on being a member of the Australian team that won a gold medal at the 2017 World University Games, saying “It’s a crazy feeling, we were training together, we were away from our families for about a month. We did a week pre-tournament in Japan and then the actual Uni Games was in Taipei. We had to beat USA to get there and that in itself is a pretty rare thing to do too. We won gold that year which obviously tops of the experience very well. It sort of just feels like a relief for all your hard work. That’s what we set out to do and we actually did it.”

On 20 August 2021 Brook was named in the Australian Opals extended 21 played squad for the 2021 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, however she missed out on selection in the final 12 player team. 

Playing for Adelaide Lightning in the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season

Brook is one of four members of Adelaide’s 2021/22 core rotation that have suited up for the club again in 2022/23 along with Talbot, Whittle and Simons. In the off-season Adelaide recruited Lauren Mansfield, American imports Jacinta Monroe, Kierstan Bell and Abby Cubillo. After playing one game for the Lightning in 2021/22 18 year old guard Isabel Borlase has been a revelation and is joined in  Adelaide’s 2022/23 core rotation by Ella Batish. After being an Adelaide Assistant Coach for two seasons Nat Hurst is in her first season as the Lightning’s Head Coach in 2022/23. Chris Lucas is the Head Coach of WNBL rivals Melbourne Boomers.   

Head Coach Nat Hurst addressing Adelaide Lightning players at a time-out during their game against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

In Adelaide’s first six games of the 2022/23 WNBL season Brook scored a total of four points. In the Lightning’s next six games Brook scored at least five points in a game five times. Against Bendigo Spirit in Adelaide’s seventh game of the season on 10 December at Mildura Sporting Precinct Brook made four of five field goal attempts at an accuracy of 80% including making her only three-pointer, scored nine points, took three rebounds, made one assist and blocked one shot.

Bell had been a starter for Adelaide but in late December left the club and returned to the United States of America.

Chelsea Brook about to inbound the ball for Adelaide Lightning against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

On Thursday 5 January Brook started for Adelaide Lightning in a Round 9 home game against fourth placed Townsville Fire at Adelaide Arena in a critical game for the Lightning to remain within striking distance of the top four. Brook made a game-high five three-pointers from seven attempts at an accuracy of 71%, scored 16 points – ranked fourth for the game and made two assists in Adelaide’s 93-68 victory.

Before their Round 10 home game against Sydney on Thursday 12 January Adelaide Lightning have a record of four wins and eight losses to be sixth on the ladder. Fourth placed Townsville have a record of six wins and four losses followed by Perth in fifth place on five wins and five losses. Brook has played 12 games for Adelaide in 2022/23 including five as a starter and is averaging 4.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 18.0 minutes played per game.

Chelsea Brook shooting a three-pointer for Adelaide Lightning against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022 with Cayla George playing defense

Tonight in a Round 10 home game against Sydney starting at Adelaide Arena Brook plays her 100th WNBL game with Adelaide Lightning and become the fourth current player to play their first 100 games for one WNBL club. The players Brook joins in this category are Kelsey Griffin – first 119 games for Bendigo Spirit, Aimie Rocci – first 117 games for Dandenong Rangers and Sami Whitcomb – first 105 games for Perth Lynx and counting.


Since December 2021 articles have been published on Milestones and Misses to celebrate the following WNBL games milestones:

Sami Whitcomb 100 WNBL games

Abbey Wehrung 150 WNBL games

Maddison Rocci 100 WNBL games

Kelly Wilson 400 WNBL games

Steph Talbot 150 WNBL games

Bec Cole 200 WNBL games

Aimie Rocci 200 WNBL games

Abby Bishop 250 WNBL games

Below is a link to the WNBL milestone games category of Milestones and Misses as well as the home page:


During Round 10 of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season Adelaide Lightning are celebrating their inaugural Pride Round in partnership with Queer Sporting Alliance (QSA) and will be wearing a pride jersey for their two home game this round, against Sydney tonight and against Bendigo Spirit on Saturday 14 January, both games start at 7.00pm ACST.


During Player Profiles: Chelsea Brook, Adelaide Lightning Podcast, Episode 1 in November 2021 Brook commented “Even now playing basketball at a higher level, people from Truro, my teachers if I ever run into them they are always so excited to hear about where I am going and what I am up to. For me being able to say that I came from Truro and this is where I got to is super special and something that I really enjoy going back and being able to talk about. Especially in the Barossa basketball community, they were a big part of my career too. I played out there until I got to the WNBL. That’s a big part of where I am and I like to go back and do clinics and stuff like that as well as much I can. Overall I would just say the environment, the community aspect of it all was something that I really enjoyed.”

After growing up in Truro and progressing through the South Australian Country basketball pathway Brook won the SA Premier League Halls Medal in 2018 and was a member of Australia’s gold medal winning team at the 2017 World University Games.

Brook made her WNBL debut with Adelaide Lightning in 2016/17 and after playing limited minutes in her first three seasons with the club has been a valuable member of Adelaide’s core rotation from 2019/20 onwards, either off the bench or as a starter and as been an efficient shooter. After progressing through South Australia’s junior basketball pathway Chelsea Brook achieves the milestone tonight of reaching 100 games for South Australia’s WNBL club, the Adelaide Lightning.

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:


Sami Whitcomb

Abbey Wehrung

Penny Taylor

Rachel Jarry

Steph Reid

Kristy Wallace

Anneli Maley

Lindsay Allen

Jade Melbourne

Maddison Rocci

Cayla George

Kelly Wilson

Steph Talbot

Bec Cole

Aimie Rocci

Abby Bishop

Tessa Lavey

Ezi Magbegor

Zitina Aokuso

Leilani Mitchell

Maddie Garrick

Sara Blicavs


Nathan Sobey


Ashleigh Riddell

Hayley Miller

Darcy Vescio

Tessa Lavey

Georgia Patrikios

Alyce Parker

Tyla Hanks

Tyanna Smith

Tarni White

Caitlin Greiser


Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin

Nicky Winmar

Sam Walsh

Jack Steele

Luke Jackson

Harry McKay

Seb Ross

Jayden Short

Clayton Oliver

Lenny Hayes

Tim Membrey

Rowan Marshall

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