Sami Whitcomb wasn’t a shooter in high school, but she’s a three-point threat for Storm

At some point in the not-too-distant future, Sami Whitcomb’s 2½-year-old son Nash will undoubtedly ask her how to shoot a basketball and she already knows what she’s going to say.

“No, I’m not teaching him,” the Storm guard said defiantly while shaking her head. “I definitely won’t. At least, not my shot. No. I will definitely try to get him to shoot like (Stephen) Curry or Klay (Thompson).

“I could try and teach him the quick stuff that’s helped me, the footwork and being on balance. But I would try to get his shot to be a normal jumper. My shot is not normal.”

There’s nothing normal about Whitcomb’s quick-release jumper that’s evolved since her days starring at Buena High in Ventura, Calif.

“In high school, I was not a shooter,” Whitcomb said. “I was a bit more of a 4 in terms of how I played. I was a great rebounder. I was the second tallest on my team. I was to the rim. Scrappy. I got O-boards. I would post up.

“As the recruiting process went on, that was my knock. Everyone told me I had to become a wing. I remember that was the big thing. They said, we can’t recruit you because, or we’re not looking at you seriously, because I really didn’t have a shot.”

Whitcomb signed with the Washington Huskies where she was a three-year starter who averaged 10.8 points. She also led UW in scoring, rebounding and assists as a senior while earning All-Pac-10 honors.

“My first year at UW, when I stayed up there and took summer classes, all I did was get on the (basketball shooting machine) and shoot. It wasn’t about changing my shot, it was about getting comfortable with it and getting reps at it.

“Once I got comfortable with that, it was about if you’re a shooter and people take that away, then how can I still get my shot off? So, that’s where the quickness came from.”

After playing overseas for six years, the former UW standout made her WNBA debut with the Storm in 2017 as an undrafted rookie.

Six years and 361 three-pointers later, the 35-year-old Whitcomb ranks 39th on the league’s all-time list for threes.

If Whitcomb, who averages about 51 three-pointers per season, entered the WNBA immediately after college and maintained her current pace, she’d rank among the top seven three-point snipers in league history behind the likes of Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Katie Smith, Becky Hammon, Tina Thompson and Katie Douglas.

“Sami works at a rate that makes me understand why she’s so efficient,” coach Noelle Quinn said. “Even this stage of her career, I know she has some aches and pains, but she still finds a way to mentally push through and gets up extra shots before and after practice. She’s always been like that.

“So, when she steps on the floor and everybody knows what she can do, she still does it. Yes, that’s her skill. But to me that’s a testament to her preparation, her work and her mindset. It’s not easy to be that efficient.”

Whitcomb averages 9.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 37.3% on three-pointers.

Since June 17, she’s made a three-pointer in 25 straight games heading into Sunday’s 3 p.m. matchup against the Chicago Sky (13-21) at Climate Pledge Arena.

It’s tied for the 24th longest streak in WNBA history and six shy of her personal best 31 that overlapped the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Bird set the Storm record of 33 in 2017.

“I don’t want to say it doesn’t matter, but it’s not something I’m tracking,” Whitcomb said when asked about the three-point streak. “If this grows and becomes a larger number, then we can talk about that.

“I tend to look at percentages more than a streak. Anyone can chuck up 10 shots and hopefully one of them will go in. I’m happy and pleased with it, but I’d like to be able to do that more efficiently.”

Postseason hopes nearly dashed

If the Los Angeles Sparks (15-18) win any of their remaining seven games, they’ll eliminate the Storm (10-24) from the WNBA postseason race.

The Storm, who are tied with Indiana for 10th in the standings, must win their remaining six games and finish with a better record than L.A., Chicago (13-21) and the Fever to capture the eighth playoff spot.

The Storm have made the playoffs every year since 2016, which is the second-longest active streak in the league behind Phoenix (10). Connecticut (six) is next on the list followed by Chicago and Las Vegas tied at four.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *