Storm

The Wizard of Aus Returns to The Emerald City

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Even though the Seattle Storm lost many key pieces during the offseason, there was a bright-spot signing for the team. Sami Whitcomb signed a two-year deal to return to the Storm as they rebuild.

After losing Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird in the offseason, Whitcomb returning provides that glimmer of hope for Storm fans. She provides her veteran leadership and her three-point shooting, but she has also loved the state of Washington since the beginning.

Whitcomb Wins At Washington

Whitcomb began her playing career at the University of Washington in 2006. She played in 21 games during her freshman year, averaging 4.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game while leading the team shooting 81% from the free-throw line and was fourth on the team in made three pointers with 15.

She was delayed by a broken right hand injury, but her role quickly elevated in her second year. As a sophomore, she started 30 games, averaged 11.2 points per contest, led the team with 62 steals, and finished second with 47 assists. During Whitcomb’s senior year, she averaged a career-high 13.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 85.6% from the free-throw line. She led the team in all these categories.

Whitcomb finished 15th in UW scoring history with 1,205 points over the four years she played there. She remembers her time as a Husky fondly and loved everything about attending the University of Washington. “Being a student-athlete at UW is still one of my most cherished experiences,” said Whitcomb. “Playing alongside some of my best friends at Hec Ed in front of our amazing Husky fans was everything. I lived for it and it’s a huge part of who I am and where I am today.”

While her journey started in college, her path hit a bumpy road when she declared for the WNBA draft.

Whitcomb Revives Career Overseas

When Whitcomb went undrafted in the 2010 WNBA Draft, she decided to go overseas to Europe to develop her game. She began her professional career in June 2011 with ChemCats Chemnitz of the Damen-Basketball-Bundesliga (DBBL) in Germany. During that season she averaged 11.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

She then signed with the Germany team, Wolfenbüttel Wildcats, during the 2012-13 season. With them she averaged 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 steals per game in 20 appearances. Eventually she played more overseas before taking a break from basketball, and she then began her resurgence back into the WNBA.

In 2017, Whitcomb signed with the Seattle Storm right before the season started, and she fit right into their championship culture. She started her career off strong with the all-time record for most three pointers in one half, hitting six against the New York Liberty.

She won a WNBA championship in her second season in 2018, averaging 6.2 points per game and shooting 50% from three-point range during their title run. In 2020, Whitcomb won another championship for the Storm, but she wasn’t able to celebrate with the team.

She averaged 5.0 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.0 steals through six postseason games. She enjoyed winning that championship, but family came first for Whitcomb. “I was proud of winning that championship in 2020 but being there for [Nash’s] birth as well,” Whitcomb said. The following season, she was traded to New York along with Natasha Howard.

Sami Takes One Bite From The Big Apple

When Whitcomb was traded to the New York Liberty, she was given an opportunity to lead a rebuilding team. She averaged 11.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and shot 42.5% from three-point land. These were all career-high marks, signifying she seized the opportunity given to her.

Whitcomb led New York to the playoffs in both seasons she was there, which was a massive accomplishment for them. The Liberty had disappointing years before Whitcomb arrived, so she was proud that it didn’t detour them from success. “I was most proud of our resilience,” Whitcomb said. “To come full circle that whole season where our goal was to make the playoffs and a lot of people didn’t believe in that, to see that come to fruition was exciting.”

Whitcomb became a three-point weapon for the Liberty over the time she was over there, but when free agency began, there was no question where her heart was.

All Yellow Brick Roads Lead To The Emerald City

When the Storm re-signed Whitcomb, the fans in Seattle got a glimmer of hope for an entertaining season ahead. As a fan-favorite, even in a rebuilding season she can provide a veteran presence for the young roster. Whitcomb joins a veteran group of Jewell Loyd and Kia Nurse, and she also gets to play with Ezi Magbegor, whom she played in Australia and with Seattle in 2020. Storm General Manager Talisa Rhea says Whitcomb “personifies the passion and excitement that is Storm basketball.”

The Storm kick off the 2023 season Saturday afternoon against the defending-champion Las Vegas Aces.

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About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

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