Tahlia Tupaea of the Northern Kāhu has been named the 2022 Sky City Most Valuable Player for the inaugural Tauihi season, helping her team to a 10-2 record and the No. 1 spot on the ladder.
The 25-year-old posted averages of 18.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game with the Kāhu, playing in all 12 games during the regular season.
A dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand, Tupaea was also named to the All-Star Five along with teammate and Sky Sport Tall Ferns legend Micaela Cocks. Cocks was also in the running for the MVP award, showcasing the talent that the Kāhu had at their disposal throughout the season. The 36-year-old North Shore native averaged 18.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals on 45.3% shooting from the field and 45.1% from three in 12 games.
The Kāhu pair were joined in the All Star Five by Kyra Lambert (Whai), Jaime Nared (Queens) and Laina Snyder (Hoiho).
Lambert was a key cog for the Whai and was productive across the board with averages of 14.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.2 steals. She flirted with a triple-double on numerous occasions and her contributions will be crucial for the Whai’s Final 4 outlook.
Once Jaime Nared overcame a back injury at the start of the season, she turned it up a notch and was the No. 1 option on offence for the Queens. Nared was a big reason why the Queens were able to win five straight to close out the regular season, compiling season averages of 19.8 points (3rd highest), 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 11 outings.
Laina Snyder was right in the MVP conversation and for good reason, establishing herself as one of the most talented players in the league this season.
Snyder finished the season as the scoring champion with 20.6 points per game on 44.1% shooting from the floor and 36% from beyond the arc. The 26-year-old also averaged 9.2 rebounds (2nd most), 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals (tied 4th) across her 12 games with the Hoiho.
Defensive Player of the Year went to American Nikki Greene of the Whai. Greene was a force all season long for the Tauranga based team, averaging 11.1 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
Out of North Charleston in South Carolina, Greene easily claimed the rebounding crown with her 11.5 boards per game and her size constantly created issues for anyone who entered the paint.
Argentinian Florencia Chagas won Youth Player of the Year after a stellar season with the Tokomanawa Queens. She averaged 15.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and a league-best 2.9 steals per game. The 21-year-old drove the Queens’ offence and as evidenced in her steals numbers, made an impact on the other end of the floor too.
Jody Cameron of the Kāhu claimed Coach of the Year after leading her team to a 10-2 record and the No. 1 seed. Cameron had the Kāhu playing at a high level all season and her game-to-game adjustments were crucial for keeping her team ahead of the curve.
The awards panel consisted of the five Tauihi head coaches and two independents – Tauihi General Manager Huw Beynon and Tall Ferns legend Donna Wilkins.
Full List of Award Winners
MVP - Tahlia Tupaea (Kāhu)
Youth Player of the Year - Florencia Chagas (Queens)
Defensive Player of the Year - Nikki Greene (Whai)
All Star Five - Kyra Lambert (Whai), Micaela Cocks (Kāhu), Tahlia Tupaea (Kāhu), Jaime Nared (Queens), Laina Snyder (Hoiho)
Coach of the Year - Jody Cameron (Kāhu)
Club of the Year - Northern Kāhu
Team GM of the Year - Matt Lacey (Kāhu)
Best Game Presentation – Tokomanawa Queens
Best Social Media – Tokomanawa Queens
Best Fan Engagement - Mainland Pouākai
Referee of the Year - Hayden Pipe