• Aussie WNBA star Sami Whitcomb (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Sami Whitcomb played her role in Seattle Storm reaching the WNBA Finals and now as they close in on a championship she’s watching from the other side of the world.
By
Megan Hustwaite

5 Oct 2020 - 3:28 PM  UPDATED 5 Oct 2020 - 3:28 PM

The dynamic guard was shaking off jet lag in her Sydney hotel as the sun rose on Monday morning, soaking up every minute of her team’s 2-0 series lead over Las Vegas Aces.

Whitcomb has returned to Australia for the birth of her baby boy, who is due next month with partner Kate, quarantining in the harbour city before returning home to Perth.

The 32-year-old told SBS Sport  Seattle is peaking at the business end of the season.

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“It’s great to see us playing as well as we know we can. You work so hard and you go through this unique season in the Wubble to reach this point and you hope when you do (get there) you’re peaking as a group and playing our best and I feel like we are,’’ she said.

“We’re playing as well as we have all season. The bench is coming in and doing what they need to do with the opportunities they’re getting. In-Game 1 it was led by the superstars – Brianna Stewart, Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd. This game Stewie is still Stewie and Sue had an incredible game but Alysha Clark and Natasha Howard really stepped up without any hesitation and carried the load a bit more too.

“You love to see it, I’m so happy, they’ve been working so hard and I’d love nothing more than for us to finish it off in Game 3.”

A key part of Seattle’s 2018 championship, Whitcomb packs a punch off the bench for the Storm with her basketball IQ, ability to quickly make an impact and her sensational three-point shooting.

But what’s she like as a spectator, riding every moment of Seattle’s fortunes?

“I’m super anxious, I want every shot to go in and if anything happens on the other end – I know what’s supposed to be happening so it’s hard not having any say or control,’’ she explains.

“It’s similar to being on the bench but when you’re on the bench you know there’s a chance of going in, of doing something and making a difference but here I can’t even cheer or be a good team mate.

“I’m still cheering but it’s by myself, here in my hotel room.”

Whitcomb made the call to leave the Wubble after Seattle swept Minnesota Lynx in the play-offs. With limited flights back into Australia and WA, plus a range of Covid-19 restrictions, the soon-to-be-mum wasn’t leaving anything to chance.

The baby is due on November 17 but doctors have told the parents its likely he will be earth side earlier.

“We made that call, it wasn’t really a call more of how do we do this. I wasn’t going to risk missing it or with things changing every day, every week if I didn’t take the flights now and something else happened,’’ Whitcomb says.

“It was incredibly stressful and if it was that stressful for me I can only imagine how stressful it was for Kate. She’s sacrificed so much for me to participate in the WNBA season at all, she’s been so strong and done so much alone as it was, so it was important to me to make sure she knew that her and the baby are No.1.”

Whitcomb, who was born in the US but is now an Australian citizen who’s represented the Opals at several major tournaments, took the scenic route to reach the peaks of her basketball career. She’s had setbacks, been cut from teams but persistence, resilience and sheer determination has seen Whitcomb achieve success right around the world.

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Now, she is primed for her most special chapter. Parenthood.

“It’s everything, it feels like it’s the culmination of our love for each other deciding we want to create a new life and nurture him together. We love each other enough we want to share in this journey as mothers together and loving and raising a child,’’ Whitcomb explains.

“Seeing Kate pregnant and growing our son inside her and seeing her being a mum already, I feel like I have fallen even more in love with her. It’s just a really lovely next step to take together and doing it with the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, well I don’t think there’s any greater joy.”

This year has been one like no other but with the arrival of a first child and perhaps a second WNBA championship also on the way, it’s one Whitcomb will cherish.

“For us 2020 will be looked at as a year that changed our lives in a very special way.”

Game 3 between Seattle and Las Vegas is on Wednesday.