Superb Sami shines brightest against Flyers
ONE of the most publicised parts of the offseason in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), was the changing of the guard at the Perth Lynx after a number of big name stars departed, but it does not seem to be an issue for Sami Whitcomb.
The 34-year-old veteran was at her electric best against the Southside Flyers on Friday night as the Lynx produced a stirring eight-point triumph on front of their home crowd at Bendat Basketball Centre.
In a tense affair, Whitcomb proved to be the difference at the start of the final quarter when the home side trailed by three, nailing some game-breaking buckets in the opening minutes on her way to a game-high points total.
The Lynx overpowered the Flyers in the final quarter and move to 6-5 on the season and remain in fifth spot on the ladder. On the other hand, the Flyers broke their winning streak and still have a two-game gap to close between them and the ladder-leading Boomers.
Perth Lynx (94) def. Southside Flyers (86)
Sami Whitcomb – 33 points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals
Whitcomb posted the week’s highest points total and more importantly, delivered a match-winning performance against one of the in form side of the WNBL.
From the field, the high-scoring guard splashed home 12 of her 20 attempts from the field, and kept the defence guessing as to where the field goal attempts would come from, having fully established herself as a three-level scorer over the span of a decorated career.
After a strong showing in the first three quarters, the experienced campaigner saved her best for last to guide Perth to victory.
Despite struggling from behind the arc in the opening 30 minutes of play, Whitcomb caught fire in the most crucial part of the game to open the fourth quarter. The Australian Opal drained the first shot of the period, a three-pointer just six seconds into the final term, demonstrating that she would be the number one option in crunch time. When the Flyers answered down the other end, Whitcomb again chimed in from behind the arc, putting the responsibility on herself to get the Lynx across the line.
Whitcomb was also the one to give her side the lead shortly after, showing plenty of confidence and aggression in her drive to the hoop to drain the go-ahead bucket. The Southside defence quickly caught on to exactly how much damage she can cause, and began sending double teams.
Instead of panicking and forcing up a bad shot, Whitcomb made the right call and found teammate Amy Atwell on the perimeter, who drained the triple to extend Perth’s lead. Atwell and Whitcomb combined well down the stretch to seal the result for the Lynx, who gained all the momentum in the last 10 minutes.
It was a vintage performance from Whitcomb, who has been a stalwart in Australian Women’s basketball for the better part of a decade. Friday night showed she still has plenty left in the tank and is crucial to this Lynx outfit.