27 September, 2021
03 October
4 Samantha Whitcomb (AUS)
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Which three Opals players have the best chance of a FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup spot?

AMMAN (Jordan) - With a year to go until the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney, all eyes are on  Australia and how they will approach the event roster-wise after an underwhelming display at Tokyo 2020.

The Opals team currently competing at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup in Amman contains none of those Olympic competitors, so could any of those playing in Jordan force their way into contention for next year's flagship event?

Here are three candidates who may have the best opportunity to do so:

Sami Whitcomb

A no-brainer! Surely there is no question at all that the Opals have to select the fabulous Whitcomb. She did a brilliant job three years ago at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Tenerife when Australia made it to the title game. A super team player, always hustling defensively, able to knock down killer threes and create, the WNBA baller has shown her class in Amman.

Despite parachuting into the event just 24 hours before the first game, she stands out as the class player on the roster. The guard would probably prefer not to have to force it as much as she has been - but needs must in a team filled with relatively little experience of major events. She is curently leading the tournament in efficiency and scoring which speaks volumes. A class act for sure. It would be unthinkable not to have her down in the backcourt next year - wouldn't it?

Darcee Garbin 

While Garbin is not one of the new faces in the current Australia line-up having competed at the last FIBA Women's Asia Cup as well, there is no denying the value of her doing the dirty work and all the things that the box scores and stats don't show. Off the ball she is relentless in getting her team open, she is super smart, stretches the floor and when given the opportunity, will knock down some important buckets. She may not be a headline performer and has previously not been able to book her spot for global tournaments, but she has done herself good so far in Amman by keeping it simple and let's face it, even the best teams need role players and team ballers.

Lauren Nicholson

Despite the fact that Nicholson has not scored as freely as she might have hoped, it just looks and feels that she is one of the most trusted on the floor - and somebody who could possibly do a job off the bench in Sydney. Like Garbin, she also has past experience of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup and so far in Jordan, her numbers are down from where they really need to be to have a strong chance of making it. 

Of course, there is still plenty of time to correct this and she could yet be a factor in the Semi-Final match-up against Japan and the subsequent Final or Third Place Game.