Former Coffs Suns junior plays in her second WNBL season

Lizzy Tonks in action for the Adelaide Lightning.

LIZZY Tonks has been putting her skills to the ultimate test playing in Australia’s premier women’s basketball competition.

The former Coffs Harbour Suns junior is currently playing her second season in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).

The 26-year-old has been playing for the Adelaide Lightning in the current WNBL season.

Tonks made the move to South Australia after playing her debut season in the WNBL for the University of Canberra Capitals.

Before making her WNBL debut for Canberra, she had spent time in the nation’s capital coming through the Centre of Excellence Program at the AIS, as well as playing for Canberra-based teams.

Prior to signing with the Lightning for the current WNBL season, the guard had an outstanding season playing for the Canberra Nationals in the NBL1 East semi-professional competition, where she averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.

Tonks explained what prompted her move to South Australia.

“I suppose there were a few reasons,” she said.

“(Former WNBL player) Nat Hurst coached me while I was in Canberra, and she now coaches the Lightning and recruited me here.

“I really like playing under Nat, as she has had the biggest impact on me of any coach.

“It’s been good moving here, I like the Adelaide lifestyle, and having had no access to a beach at Canberra, now we live right on the beach which is great.”

She explained the role Coach Hurst wanted her to play at the Lightning.

“Coming into the season it was as a backup point guard,” she said.

“Just bringing that energy and intensity off the bench.

“She trusts me a lot, and it’s definitely an expanding role from the one I had at the Capitals.”

After devoting much of her life to basketball, Tonks took some time away from the sport, but returned with a renewed competitive fire which helped her reach the WNBL.

“After playing in college in the USA, I stopped playing and didn’t think I’d ever get back to any competitive level,” she said.

“But I was itching to get back that competitiveness I had lost, so I came back.

“Looking back in hindsight, I didn’t think I would make the WNBL, so it’s definitely one of my biggest achievements.”

Her fondest memory of her junior days with the Coffs Suns was growing up playing alongside her teammates.

“Starting with the same group of players when you are really young, and playing together for twelve years, that was the best part,” she said.

“Also, when (former NBL player) Matt Shanahan was here, he really helped develop me from a state player to a junior Australian player.”

Tonks is one of three former Coffs Harbour Suns juniors in the WNBL this season, with Kristy Wallace having made the All-WNBL First Team last season playing for the Melbourne Boomers, while Isla Juffermans is in her rookie season for the Sydney Flames.


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