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Sami Whitcomb explodes for 40 as the Aussie women progress in EuroCup
Sami Whitcomb and Abby Bishop have led their respective sides through the EuroCup Women's regular season, both advancing to the next stage. The Aussie duo have done it in style too, with Whitcomb exploding for a season-high 40 points, with both inside the league top 5 in scoring average, while Alice Kunek is set to join them in the next stage too.
Australian Opal Sami Whitcomb and her French side Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomération are setting the EuroCup Women's competition on fire, enjoying an unbeaten run to open the season. However Whitcomb stepped it up to another level when she exploded for a staggering 40 points in their most recent 96-66 obliteration of Hungarian side VBW CEKK Ceglèd.
The 2018 FIBA World Cup silver medalist was unconscious as she helped power Lattes to a blowout 30 point win. The former Perth Lynx and current Seattle Storm star drained a remarkable 10-14 three-pointers at a blistering 71.4% en route to her mammoth haul. She also posted 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals with a plus/minus of +31 nd an efficiency rating of 39.
Whitcomb connected on her first triple with 4:22 to play in the first term, and would go on to amass 12 points as Lattes took a 32-19 lead at the first break. And despite a fruitful first period, things were set to get even hotter.
Taking a break to open the second period, Whitcomb was injected back into the game and with devastating effect. The sharpshooter hit three consecutive treys on three straight possession in the space of 47 seconds to extend the margin to 18 points. She would go on to hit 5 triples without missing as she almost single-handedly blew out the game. She finally proved she was human on a heat check a play later, before taking a well-earned break with 27 points against her name up to half time with her side leading 26 points.
Things looked ominous for Ceglèd when Whitcomb struck from deep again with her first shot of the second half, however they would successfully stymie the naturalised Australian's scoring throughout the term. While Lattes would go on to win the term, it would prove to be their lowest output for the game (15-12), with Whitcomb adding 'just' 5 points.
Whitcomb would hit two more from deep down the stretch to finish with 10 for the game and 40 points. She was one of four players to score in double figures for Lattes, who finished the regular season in Group I with an unblemished 6-0 record.
The Australian star has been averaging 22 points (5th), 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting a red-hot 29.2% from beyond the arc across all six EuroCup Women games.
Abby Bishop | Credit: EuroCup Women
Also joining Whitcomb through to the next stage of EuroCup with a 5-1 record is Abby Bishop and her Hungarian side KSC Szekszárd. Bishop added 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in helping guide her side to a 72-49 win against Basketball Nymburk in closing out Group J on top in the standings. Szekszárd took control from the opening tip and led 28-8 at the first break. While Nymburk did fight back to provide some resistance, Szekszárd were never seriously threatened. It was the first time during the EuroCup season that Bishop had not reached 21 points or more, however her side did not require her to on this occasion.
The 2012 London Olympian has been enjoying a terriffic season with her Hungarian side, averaging 22.5 points (4th), 9 rebounds (18th) and 3 assists across 4 games played. Bishop delivered a season-high 29 points on 12-18 shooting in 25 point rout of German side Rutronik Stars Keltern, and has helped ensure her side progressed to the knock-out stages when they will resume in late January.
Alice Kunek | Credit: EuroCup Women
Alice Kunek is the third Australian through to the next round after her Polish side Energa Turun thrashed Niki Lefkada 95-48. The contest was never close either, with Torun blowing the game out early before continuing to motor their way to a 47 point win and a 4-2 record - enough to secure them second place in Group B.
The 6'2 forward added 12 points on 4-6 three-pointers with 4 rebounds and 5 assists in 18 minutes, as six players scored in double figures, with 11 players logging minutes as the load was shared in the lop-sided win. Kunek has been a consistent contributor for Torun during their EuroCup campaign, averaging 9.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting the three-ball at an impressive 52.9% clip. Her side is scheduled to take on Nantes Reze in a two-game, home and away series on 3 January 2019.