Sami Whitcomb is easily the best women’s basketball player in Australia’s WNBL but she makes no secret about setting her sights on the WNBA. And with what she accomplished in the last 18 months, her WNBA dream is certainly within reach.
Whitcomb is not only the talk of the WNBL, but the league’s raging MVP favourite after compiling one of the finest individual starts to a season in recent history.
The slick shooting guard has never looked back after being snapped up by the Lynx at the beginning of last season, averaging a league-high 25.3 points per game this campaign to form the centrepiece of Stewart’s title-contending unit.
At 28, Whitcomb’s success is apt reward for a career spent overcoming the odds to prove she belongs.
After a solid college career, the California native was the last player cut from tryouts for WNBA side Chicago Sky in 2010.
It led to Whitcomb taking a year out from the game to become Washington’s video co-ordinator after initially failing to find an overseas playing role, with the absence from the court fuelling the fire to succeed.
“I think I still play with a chip on my shoulder, because my whole career, I’ve felt like I have something to prove,” says Whitcomb, who arrived in Australia in 2013.
“I’ve always been ‘not quite good enough’, whether it was WNBA, or that first year (after college) where I couldn’t get signed overseas, or here.
“That’s been a part of why I continue each year to want to try and get better. That extra motivation – the fact that I constantly feel like I’m not good enough – maybe that’s what keeps me being able to grow.”
“The player I am now compared to the player that tried out for the WNBA and was cut is totally different,” sayd Whitcomb.
“I’d love to go back and just have a crack. In terms of career goals, it’s always been that last thing that I’ve been reaching for.”
Having morphed into a deadly offensive threat and energetic defender, Whitcomb has left her coach with no doubt about her prospects in the world’s top women’s league.
“My question would be, ‘Can she dominate it?’,” Stewart says.
“We have WNBA girls who come out here, high draft picks, and Sam has it over them easily.
“I definitely know she can play at that level. There’s no doubt about it.”