Canberra Capitals players dress up for their end of year presentation dinner at Woden Tradies. Photo: Jay Cronan
Brigitte Ardossi was crowned the Canberra Capitals most valuable player on Friday night, the club opting not to rule her ineligible after slapping her with an internal suspension late in the season.
In a disappointing campaign for the seven-time WNBL champions, the award was deserved recognition for the power forward, who was clearly their best and most consistent player.
Ardossi averaged 12.6 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and stepped up admirably in the absence of injured superstar Lauren Jackson.
Capitals players Brigitte Ardossi and Tessa Lavey. Photo: Jay Cronan
Basketball ACT chief executive Tony Jackson and Capitals coach Carrie Graf decided on Friday to award the 25-year-old the club's highest individual honour.
The Capitals took the extraordinary step of suspending Ardossi for the last three matches of the season after she received an unsportsmanlike foul for deliberately tripping Townsville's Rachael Flanagan.
The WNBL tribunal handed her a two-match ban, but Canberra refused to let her play in its final game against West Coast.
Capitals players Nicole Hunt and Jessica Bibby. Photo: Jay Cronan
Ardossi expressed genuine remorse after the Flanagan incident. She emailed the Fire guard an apology, and fronted the media to express her regret.
She received rapturous applause when her award was announced at the Woden Tradies Club, having become a fan favourite in her two seasons at Canberra.
For the third straight year guard Carly Wilson was given the Kellie Abrams award for defensive player of the year, which was named after the former Capitals skipper who won six championships at the club.
Capitals players Alice Coddington and Mikaela Dombkins. Photo: Jay Cronan
AIS recruit Casey Samuels won the player on the rise award, an accolade won by Ardossi last season. Capitals skipper Jess Bibby won the players' player gong for the second straight time after a strong finish to the season. Friday night's function ended a momentous week for the Capitals after Graf re-signed for the next three seasons.