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Coffey time for Lightning

MAC Adelaide Lightning star Nia Coffey is likely to go close to winning the WNBL's Most Valuable Player award but tonight she comfortably won the club's MVP accolade.

Las Vegas Aces WNBA small forward Coffey came to Lightning to play for Gold Medal-winning Emerging Opals coach Chris Lucas, a dual-WNBL championship winner at Townsville Fire.

Lucas has played the versatile and athletic Coffey at power forward, small forward and even at the Five at times and she has returned superb numbers, her 18.4 points per game fifth in the WNBL.

Her 8.4 rebounds is second at Adelaide only to import teammate Kayla Alexander, a six-year WNBA vet who has been hauling in boards at a rate of 9.0 per game.

Coffey (below) also has rejected 1.13 shots per game and just been a force of nature all season.

Alexander, who also averaged 12.2 points per game and with Coffey formed the best import combination in Lightning's storied history, received the club's Commitment to Excellence award.

"They are amazing players and great people," Lucas said of his import tandem, recalling Coffey was content to sit out the end of semi final Game 1 in Melbourne because she felt the players on court at the time were doing so well. And that Alexander willingly accepted coming off the bench during the season because it helped the team.

“Nia’s impact on the team has been immense and she has played a pivotal part in our success.

"The best part is, she has a great personality and never makes it about herself, it’s always about the team.

“Nia brings great effort and wants to get better. She is a fierce competitor, a great teammate and been very consistent in her performance.

"I believe her game has improved this season because she has put the work in.”

Coffey, 23, has an enormous future but her first priority is to bring a WNBL Championship back to Adelaide for the first time since 2008.

In what has been a landmark year for a Lightning team on the brink of extinction, Lauren Nicholson (above) was named Best Defensive Player for the second year in a row - she also should win that award at WNBL level - and the Coaches Award.

Penina Davidson (below) won the Rachael Sporn Encouragement Award.

Feb 6

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