WNBA All-Star weekend has been won and done so now its back to business and time to check in with our Aussies around the league.
Written by Megan Hustwaite.
Liz Cambage was a star attraction of All-Star weekend playing on A’Ja Wilson’s winning team, turning heads on the orange carpet and living out her point guard dreams bringing the ball up the court and sinking threes.
“I’m a point guard, didn’t you realise?! Just because I’m tall doesn’t mean I’m not a point guard. You can be anything you want to be in life, so I keep saying I’m a point guard and will bring it into existence,” she told ESPN.
The Opals superstar is averaging 16.8 points and 7.6 rebounds, and scored in double figures in all games with a season-high 22 points against the Lynx, in her maiden season with the Las Vegas Aces.
The Aces lead the Western Conference and are second overall in the league 13-6
The Australian connection continues to be strong at Phoenix Mercury with Sandy Brondello at the helm and Penny Taylor on her coaching staff.
Brondello’s Opals point guard, veteran Leilani Mitchell, is contesting her 11th WNBA season, while in contrast, rising star Alanna Smith is experiencing her rookie campaign.
After being drafted with selection #8 in this year’s WNBA draft, the 22-year-old forward is averaging just under eight minutes per game but has racked up valuable court time under her belt (18 minutes) twice against the Lynx and Seattle. Smith joined the Opals at camp in Phoenix last week for two sessions with her Australian teammates.
Sami Whitcomb hit the floor in the WNBA All-Star Skills Challenge at the weekend and continues to add to her incredible run of form, back at the Seattle Storm. The 2018 WNBA champion enjoyed a successful stint in Europe before returning to Seattle where she’s delighting fans with her trademark triples. Her best outing to date came against Minnesota this month with 15 points, eight assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block.
Bec Allen, now in her fifth year with the New York Liberty, is averaging just over 16 minutes of court time per game in season 2019. Her standout performance, so far, was against Washington where she teamed a season-high 13 points with four rebounds and three blocks. Allen is playing with reigning Canberra Capitals championship player Kia Nurse who is returning to Australia for #WNBL20.
Steph Talbot joined the Minnesota Lynx from the Mercury this season and is fresh from a WNBA career-high 24 points, including five threes, against Atlanta earlier this month. The Opals forward will return home to South Australia and represent the Adelaide Lightning in #WNBL20.
Brondello isn’t the only Aussie coach flying the flag in the US.
WNBA champion and ex-Opal Erin Phillips, who is recovering from a ruptured ACL she suffered while playing for the Adelaide Crows in their AFLW premiership in March, is part of the coaching staff at Dallas Wings, while fellow former Opal and WNBA champion Tully Bevilaqua is player development/assistant coach at Indiana Fever.