Peter Argent, Yorke Peninsula Country Times
Stephanie Talbot (Kadina) made a stunning return to basketball in the Women’s National Basketball League for Adelaide Lightning against Canberra Capitals on Sunday, January 28.
It was Talbot’s first game of competitive basketball in 11 months, since rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in a February 18, 2023 WNBL game.
Talbot surprisingly started on the bench and first entered the contest three minutes and 53 seconds into the match.
She immediately had an impact with a two-point jumper and then a sweet three-point bomb, returning to the cut and thrust of the WNBL competition.
Playing with the same athletic intent she displayed before her injury, Talbot had nine points, five rebounds and an assist by halftime, with the game in the balance.
At the long interval, the Capitals enjoyed a slender two-point advantage.
Talbot was on court for 20 minutes and 26 seconds, just over half the contest, finishing with a highly creditable 14 points, although she was a little rusty from the charity stripe, finishing with 50 per cent (three from six) in free throws.
She also claimed seven rebounds, six defensively, and had a pair of assists and a block.
This helped Adelaide collect its sixth win of the season against a fellow foot-of-the-ladder team, getting up by a strong 17-point margin, 84 to 67.
On an afternoon where the Lightning paraded stars of previous epochs to celebrate 30 years since the start of the Lightning back in 1993, Talbot rubbed shoulders with the best players South Australian women’s basketball has produced, sitting comfortably alongside the likes of Rachael Sporn, Jo Hill, and current Australian Opals team mates Tess Madgen and Cayla George.
In an Olympic year, Talbot’s return to court late in this season is also a wonderful fillip for the Australian Opals, if they can get past the qualifiers in early February.
The Lightning has two further games, on February 17 and 24, in their 2023-24 campaign.
This article appeared in Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 30 January 2024.