September 10, 2018 | WNBL news

Sami Whitcomb is set to make her national team debut for the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals, coming in for the injured Leilani Mitchell ahead of the FIBA Women’s World Cup later this month.

Held in Tenerife, Spain from September 22-30, the Opals are currently preparing for the tournament in Europe with a series of warm-up games.

Whitcomb, who became a naturalised citizen earlier this year, will join the team once her WNBA commitments with the Seattle Storm, who are just one win away from clinching the Championship, are completed.

“I am honoured and humbled for this opportunity to represent the Opals,” said Whitcomb.

“Australia is my home and to now be a part of this amazing Opals team is beyond a dream. You work your whole life for these opportunities, so Sandy’s call was pretty emotional for me.

“The first thing I did was call my wife who was sleeping in Australia and share the news with her. Then it felt real. I can’t wait to put on that singlet and compete for Australia.”

Mitchell has been restricted with a lower limb injury for the back half of the WNBA season.

In consultation with the Phoenix Mercury, she made the difficult decision to withdraw from the World Cup in order to start the rehabilitation process and be ready for the 2018/19 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season with the University of Canberra Capitals.

“I am very excited to be adding Sami to the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals team for the World Cup,” said head coach Sandy Brondello.

“Sami is a dynamic scorer and will add another dimension to our team with her shooting ability and will to win. Her experience playing in the WNBA finals will also be a valuable asset during the World Cup.”

Placed into Group B, the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals (ranked fourth in the world) will take on Nigeria (ranked 34th), Argentina (ranked 15th) and Turkey (ranked 7th) in the pool stage.

If they finish on top of Group B, Australia will automatically advance to the Quarter-Finals but a second or third-placed finish will see them placed into a Quarter-Final qualification game while the team that finishes fourth in the group will be knocked out.

FOX SPORTS Australia announced a landmark broadcast deal last year that included exclusive rights to the FIBA Women’s World Cup which means every game of the Chemist Warehouse Opals tournament will be shown live. See the schedule below.

The Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals Schedule for the FIBA Women’s World Cup (all times AEST):

September 22: Australia vs. Nigeria at 8.30pm
September 23: Australia vs. Argentina at 8.00pm
September 25: Australia vs. Turkey at 8.30pm
September 26: Quarter-Final Qualifications
September 28: Quarter-Finals
September 29: Semi-Finals
September 30: Medal Games
The Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals Team for the FIBA Women’s World Cup:

Rebecca Allen New York Liberty
Alex Bunton Brydens Sydney Uni Flames
Liz Cambage Dallas Wings
Katie-Rae Ebzery Perth Lynx
Cayla George Deakin Melbourne Boomers / Dallas Wings
Tess Madgen JCU Townsville Fire
Ezi Magbegor Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Lauren Mansfield Perth Lynx
Jenna O’Hea Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Alanna Smith Stanford University
Stephanie Talbot Deakin Melbourne Boomers / Phoenix Mercury
Sami Whitcomb Seattle Storm
Sandy Brondello Head Coach
Cheryl Chambers Assistant Coach
Paul Goriss Assistant Coach
Chris Lucas Assistant Coach
Gaylene Mackay Physiotherapist
Danielle Barwood Team Doctor
Trine Bourke Massage Therapist
Trish Fallon Team Leader