AUSSIES IN THE WNBA – 2019 SEASON

Las Vegas Aces

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Liz Cambage

After a period of uncertainty surrounding Cambage’s availability for the 2019 WNBA season, the Aussie star was traded to Las Vegas Aces last week.

Following a record-breaking 2018 campaign which saw Cambage break the single-game all-time scoring record with a remarkable 53-point performance, the star Aussie is in the conversation for the world’s best player.

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Last season Cambage secured the WNBA scoring title and was named to both the All-WNBA first team and the WNBA All-Star team.

Cambage will now join A’ja Wilson on the Aces under head coach Bill Laimbeer. After the Aces missed the WNBA playoffs in 2018 with a 14-20 record, Cambage will aim to lead Las Vegas to their first playoff berth since relocating to Nevada.

New York Liberty

Rebecca Allen

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Returning for her fifth season with New York, Rebecca Allen and the Liberty are looking to return to the WNBA playoffs in 2019 after uncharacteristically missing out last year.

Several fresh faces have joined New York this season but Allen’s experience will be important as they aim to restore themselves to the top of the East where they finished for three straight years between 2016-2018.

Phoenix Mercury

Sandy Brondello and the Mercury have continued to build an Australian influence after taking Alanna Smith with pick #8 in the WNBA draft to join two compatriots before hiring Opals legend Penny Taylor as the team’s assistant coach.

Leilani Mitchell

The 313-game WNBA veteran will return for her tenth season in the league fresh off winning a WNBL championship with the UC Capitals.

After playing a big role off the bench for Brondello’s squad in 2017, Mitchell saw a lesser role in 2018 as the Mercury lost 3-2 in the Western Finals to Seattle and it will be interesting to see how she is utilised in 2019.

Steph Talbot

Entering her third season with the Mercury in 2019, Talbot returns to a Phoenix squad where she started eight games in the 2018 season.

After playing 14.6 minutes per game in the regular season, Talbot was thrust into the spotlight in the playoffs as she entered the starting line-up in wake of teammate Sancho Lyttle’s knee injury.

Talbot averaged 6.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game during the playoffs before suffering a concussion during Game 2 of the Western Finals which saw her miss the final three games of the Mercury’s season.

Alanna Smith

The 22-year-old Smith has already accrued a long list of accomplishments in her basketball career including a FIBA World Cup silver medal and she is now set to make her WNBA debut.

Smith played 25 and 21 minutes respectively in the Mercury’s two pre-season games and stuffed the stat-sheet in both outings, recording five points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks against the LA Sparks.

Then, against the reigning Champions Seattle Storm, Smith went 3-4 from beyond the arc to post eleven points, four boards and two blocks.

The two pre-season games are encouraging signs for Smith who will look to hit the ground running just two months after concluding a historic college career for Stanford.

Seattle Storm

Sami Whitcomb

2018 was a big year for Whitcomb. After naturalising as an Australian early in the year, Whitcomb went on to win a FIBA World Cup silver medal and the WNBA championship with Seattle. Now, after starring in the EuroCup for Montpellier, Whitcomb will return for another season with the Storm.

In the EuroCup, Whitcomb averaged 17.1 points per game while she exploded for 40 points in the early stages of the tournament against Hungarian side VBW CEKK Ceglèd.

Whitcomb should once again play a role off the Storm’s bench behind star Sue Bird.

Ezi Magbegor

After being drafted by the Storm with the twelfth pick in the WNBA draft, Magbegor will remain in Australia for 2019 as she continues to suit up with the Geelong Supercats in the NBL1. Magbegor is slated to make her debut with the team in the 2020 season, as the young star continues to develop back home.

Training Camp Rosters

Cayla George & Nicole Seekamp

George and Seekamp were both named to the training camp rosters for the Dallas Wings in the WNBA pre-season before being waived by the team prior to the start of the season. George has played three seasons in the league, spending time with the Mercury and the Wings while Seekamp was aiming to secure her first WNBA roster berth.

Both players will now hope another team will throw them a WNBA lifeline which George has experience with, having signed with Dallas on the eve of last season after being waived by Connecticut.

Kelsey Griffin

Griffin will begin the 2019 WNBA season on the Minnesota Lynx’s ‘Suspended List’ alongside superstar Maya Moore. Griffin last played in the WNBA in 2014 for Connecticut and was named to the Lynx’s training camp roster as the reigning Chemist Warehouse WNBL MVP looks to make a return to the league.

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