The 50-point game no one saw coming
By Roy Ward, NBL1
Before this past round, the scouting report on Steph Reid was something like “pass first point guard, can score a bit”.
The 168-centimetre playmaker is a point guard through and through, someone who wants to set up her teammates and get her Frankston Blues side to a win.
Reid, 22, spent this past summer on the bench for Dandenong Rangers in the WNBL bringing some fun bench celebrations and plenty of energy in her few opportunities on the court.
As the NBL1 campaign unfolds, Reid keeps seeing WNBL signing announcements and soon after she is in the gym working out, as she is desperate to earn another season in the nation’s top league.
All that work was leading up to something and that something was an NBL1 record and season-high scoring explosion of 50 points (plus 10 assists and seven steals) when her Blues hosted Launceston Tornadoes at Frankston on Saturday night.
“It felt like a blur, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything different,” Reid said.
“I was just in a mode out there.
“I was taking open shots but I’ve never been a shooter, I’m a pass first point guard.
“Seeing myself on the replay shoot back-to-back threes – I didn’t remember taking them. A year or even six months ago I wouldn’t have taken those shots but I have been putting in a lot of work.”
To put Reid’s big night into prospective, her career-high after four years of US college basketball was 28 points – she equalled that tally against Dandenong a few weeks back.
Her Blues were firing on all cylinders and the Tornadoes had few answers as their turnovers kept piling up, and Reid and her Blues kept pushing out the margin.
With a few minutes to play, Blues coach Jess May put Reid back into the game with 40 points and one instruction.
“She told me to ‘go get 50’ and I was like ‘OK. Why not?’,” Reid said.
“But every time I would go to shoot, someone else would be wide open and I want to pass the ball. In the end my team was just telling me to shoot the ball.
Reid shot 19 of 25 from the field including seven of eight three-point shooting and she only attempted five free-throws.
Launceston are no pushovers either, although they had a bad night as the Blues forced them into 34 turnovers.
The Blues had had a rough start to the season and entered the game with a 1-5 record.
“It was just a different game, a different energy in our team,” Reid said.
“We played with intensity at the defensive end and had 40 points from turnovers. We were intense and disruptive and Launceston aren’t a bad team so if we can play like that against them, then there is no reason why we can’t beat other teams.”
Aside from helping the Blues win games, Reid desperately wants another go in the WNBL and a chance to push for point guard minutes.
“My goal is to show why I deserve to be in the WNBL and that I want to be in the league and playing at home in Australia,” Reid said.
“I see people sign everyday and usually within an hour I’m back on the training floor working out.
“I’m happy to get on a roster and work my way up, hopefully I can capture their attention.”
When she got home on Saturday, Reid still couldn’t believe what had happened, so she went online and watched a replay of the game.
She saw shots she couldn’t remember and also noted teammates Saraid Taylor and JoAnna Smith both had 17 points each along with her 50 points.
“I’ve always been a pass-first point guard and I trust my teammates to score,” Reid said.
“So if I have more defence on me now then I’ll have teammates open and I’ll find them.”