Four mothers earn selection in the Cygnett WNBL Round 7 Team of the Week

The Cygnett WNBL Round 7 Team of the Week included four mothers – Melbourne Boomers duo Cayla George and Mia Murray along with Perth Lynx captain Sami Whitcomb and Lauren Jackson in her comeback WNBL season with the Southside Flyers. The five player TOTW was completed by Sydney Flames point guard Shyla Heal who earnt her second selection of the season, having been named previously in Round 5. George played a brilliant all-round game in the Melbourne Boomers 106-100 Round 7 overtime victory against Adelaide to score 30 points, take 11 rebounds and make 10 assists to register the WNBL’s first triple double since Jenna O’Hea in November 2012. George was named the Cygnett WNBL’s Round 7 Player of the Round and was selected in the Team of the Week for the fourth time in 2022/23, ranked equal first in the league with Bendigo forward Kelsey Griffin.   

George, Whitcomb and Jackson were all members of the bronze medal winning Australian Opals team at the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup held in Sydney from 22 September to 1 October. Whitcomb led the Opals in scoring and was joined in the top five of this category by Jackson (fourth) and George (fifth). Whitcomb ranked second for the Opals in assists and George ranked second for rebounds. Heal was a member of the Australian Opals extended squad and played in a three game series held in New South Wales against Japan in May 2022 but missed out on selection for the final 12 player Opals World Cup team.

In recent seasons there has been a significant increase in the number of mothers playing in the WNBL which is partly due to mothers receiving more support from the WNBL and WNBL clubs. On 31 October 2018 The Australian Basketballers’ Association (ABA) [from May 2019 known as The Australian Basketball Players’ Association] and the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) announced the establishment of the WNBL’s first Parental and Pregnancy Care Policy. An excerpt from the statement is below:

“The Policy follows the introduction of the Minimum Player Conditions Agreement, reached between the ABA, the Chemist Warehouse Women’s National Basketball League and Basketball Australia in November 2017, and ensures players receive industry-standard conditions.

As a result of the Policy’s introduction, female basketballers in the national league will have access to the full provision of a qualified carer or player elected support personnel for all away trips.

The Policy also provides additional care and financial support for mothers with children up to four years old for away trips, with additional support costs provided in addition to a players’ other salary and entitlements.”1

After the WNBL’s first Parental and Pregnancy Care Policy was introduced for the 2018/19 WNBL season Rachel Jarry who was the Players’ Association WNBL President at the time commented “As elite athletes, we want to be able to perform at our best at all times, but also feel supported on and off the court. We can now make choices for our families, without the uncertainty over our playing contracts and know that the player’s association and league provide players with their full support.”2

During the 2020 WNBL hub season held in North Queensland there were four mothers playing in the league – Leilani Mitchell and Steph Blicavs with the Southside Flyers, Mia Murray for Townsville Fire and Ashleigh Karaitianana with the Melbourne Boomers. The number of mothers playing in the WNBL has increased rapidly and just two seasons later Murray is one of 10 mothers playing in the current 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. During The WNBL Show -EP06 published on 6 December 2022 Murray was a co-host alongside Megan Hustwaite and commented on the increase in the number of mothers playing in the league “I think it is fantastic, the fact that women have the confidence to come back and play. For me I felt like I could still compete and I wanted to compete at the highest level in Australia so that was my motivation. The fact that the clubs support the ladies to come back, they allow partners to travel, look after the children and allow us to do what we do and be the best that we can be on the court.”

The 10 mothers on a 2022/23 WNBL roster are:

Player                                   Team

Abby Bishop                       Southside Flyers

Alex Bunton                       University of Canberra Capitals  

Carly Ernst                           Southside Flyers

Jasmin Fejo                        Adelaide Lightning

Cayla George                     Melbourne Boomers     

Tianna Hawkins                 Townsville Fire          

Lauren Jackson                  Southside Flyers

Mia Murray                        Melbourne Boomers     

Sami Whitcomb                Perth Lynx

Kelly Wilson                        Bendigo Spirit

It has been magnificent to see mothers thrive playing for their respective teams during the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. At the end of Round 7 five mothers rank in the league’s top 20 for points per game with Round 7 TOTW members George, Jackson, Murray, and Whitcomb joined in this category by Townsville Fire import Tianna Hawkins. In addition to these five mothers another four mothers rank highly in an important statistic for their role. WNBL games record holder Kelly Wilson ranks third in the league for assists per game and Alex Bunton ranks 12th in rebounds. Southside Flyers frontcourt duo Abby Bishop and Cary Ernst are making an impact off the bench to be two of the seven players that average less than 22 minutes per game and more than 5.0 points per game.

22 year old Adelaide Lightning development player Jasmin Fejo is the only one of the 10 mothers on a roster that is yet to play a game in the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. At state league level in South Australia Fejo has twice between selected in a league All-Star Five – 2019 in the South Australian Premier League and 2022 in the NBL1 Central conference.

In a mutually agreed decision Bishop took custody of her niece Zala in August 2013 from older sister Chloe who was based in Darwin. At the time that Abby was given custody Zala was just two days old and the agreement was that Abby would have custody for at least 12 months, however subsequently Abby was granted full custody of Zala until she turned 18 years old.

At the 2012 London Olympic Games Bishop was a member of the Australian Opals bronze medal winning team. The terms of Basketball Australia’s parenting policy in 2014 resulted in Bishop withdrawing from the Opals and missing the 2014 World Championships. Between the 2014 World Championships and late-2015 Basketball Australia reviewed their parenting policy and Bishop played for the Opals at a Rio test event held in January 2016.

Appearing on Brekky with Jordan Curtis on 15 November 2021 Bishop commented “There is now a parental policy and all these women who are having kids and coming back to play are looked after and that was my goal. Yeah, I knew in the time it wasn’t going to help me, it was going to hinder me by stepping out but it was going to help the future women and I am super proud of that. Deep down that is one of my proudest things because now these women get what they deserve and they can continue their sport with their children. That’s my personality, I stand up for what I believe in whether it hurts me or not, I am very vocal in that sense and if it is going to help the future I am definitely going to do it.”

The high standard at which mothers are performing the specific roles they have with their WNBL club reinforces that women can successfully combine playing professional sport with being mothers and that they don’t need to retire when they start a family. 

Since the start of the 2021/22 WNBL season Milestones and Misses have published articles on four mothers that are playing in the WNBL during the 2022/23 season – Bishop, George, Whitcomb and Wilson. Links to the George and Whitcomb articles are provided in the section later in this article covering their selection in the WNBL’s Round 7 Team of the Week. Links to the Bishop and Wilson articles are below:

The performances that earnt George, Heal, Whitcomb, Murray and Jackson selection in the Cygnett WNBL’s Round 7 Team of the Week are covered below. Some information on the careers of these five TOTW members is provided and George, Whitcomb, Jackson and Murray being mothers is also briefly covered:

Player of the Round – Cayla George, Melbourne Boomers

Cayla George (nee Francis) is playing her fifth consecutive season with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers and 15th WNBL season overall during the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. From 2019/20 to 2021/22 George is one of only two players along with Opals team-mate Steph Talbot to earn All-WNBL selection in all three seasons, being named in the All-WNBL First team in 2020 and the All-WNBL Second team in 2019/20 and 2021/22. During her decorated career George has earnt selection in an All-WNBL team four times, having been selected in the First team in 2014/15. On 8 May 2015 Cayla married her partner, Kailou George who is from the Torres Straight Islands. 

Cayla George playing for Melbourne Boomers against Southside Flyers at the State Basketball Centre in a pre-season game on 5 October 2019

George has played in four WNBL Championships comprised of three for Townsville Fire in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2017/18 and one for the Deakin Melbourne Boomers in 2021/22 as club captain. Mia Murray was a teammate of George’s for all three Townsville Fire WNBL Championships and Chris Lucas was the Head Coach of Townsville’s back-to-back WNBL Championships in 2014/15 and 2015/16. In 2022/23 Lucas is in his first season as Head Coach of the Melbourne Boomers. George and Lucas being at the Boomers was a critical factor in Murray joining the club for the 2022/23 season. 

Cayla George playing for Townsville Fire against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 26 November 2017

During the past eight years from 2014 to 2022 George is the only player to represent the Australian Opals at all five major championships. At all three World Cups the Opals finished on the podium, winning the bronze medal in 2014 and 2022 and the silver medal in 2018. George played a significant role in the Opals defeating Spain in the semi final at the 2018 World Cup. With scores tied at 64 apiece with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter George scored the next five points of the game comprised of two free-throws and a corner three to gain the ascendancy for the Opals who went on to win the semi final 72-66.

At the Tokyo Olympic Games George was superb, leading the Australian Opals for scoring (13.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg) per game, ranked equal second for steals and third for assists. At the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup held in Sydney from 22 September to 1 October George played all eight games and averaged 8.6 points (ranked 5th for the Opals), 5.6 rebounds (2nd) and 20.0 minutes per game (5th).

In October 2022 Cayla and her husband Kailou became parents. Kailou’s sister gave birth to a daughter Pearl who she gifted to Cayla and Kailou. This Torres Straight Island practice of adoption is known as Kupai Omasker. In an article published on 22 September Cayla told ABC News “In their culture, for generations, Island adoption has been very common. So essentially, if someone in the family has struggled to fall pregnant or is unable to fall pregnant, another family member can choose to gift a baby to that person. She will be our own, she’s our daughter and we cannot wait, we are just over the moon.”3

Due to commitments with the Opals and as a mum to Pearl, George missed much of the Deakin Melbourne Boomers 2022/23 pre-season. Boomers captain George hasn’t missed a beat during the regular season to take at least 10 rebounds in every game and has been one of the form players of the competition. 

During a pre-recorded segment shown on ESPN at half-time of Melbourne’s home game against Townsville on 7 December George commented “So far motherhood is everything it is cracked up to be, I just can’t wait to continue to get to know Pearl and her little personality coming through. It is still a bit surreal, I just stare at her all the time, I just kiss her all the time, she is such a beautiful little baby.”

Melbourne Boomers import Tiffany Mitchell is averaging a league-leading 21.1 points per game but due to a wrist injury suffered in a Round 6 road game against Sydney has missed the Boomers last two games both against Adelaide, on the road in Round 6 and at home in Round 7.

Over the first six rounds of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season George was very consistent and productive, registering a double double in seven of eight games including both Round 6 games to earn selection in the WNBL’s Team of the Week three times including in Round 6. In the Melbourne Boomers second Round 6 game George scored 19 points, took a game-high 13 rebounds and made a game-high eight assists to fall just two assists shy of a triple double in the Melbourne Boomers 89-64 road win against Adelaide. George’s Round 6 near-triple double prompted Shooting the Breeze podcast co-host Jacinta Govind to send me the following tweet.

After some research I was able to uncover that the most recent triple double in the WNBL was by Jenna O’Hea just over 10 years ago on 10 November 2012 playing for the Dandenong Rangers against the Bulleen Boomers at Dandenong Stadium. In a Rangers 91-77 victory in regulation O’Hea scored 18 points, had a game-high 11 rebounds and made a game-high 10 assists. O’Hea brought up her triple double in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.

George’s Round 6 double-double against Adelaide along with eight assists was the closest any player came to registering a triple double in the first six rounds of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season. During the 2021/22 WNBL season another Melbourne Boomer got even closer with Ezi Magbegor falling just one assist short of a triple double against Bendigo on 19 December 2021 in a road game at Red Energy Arena. In the Boomers 81-56 victory against Bendigo Magbegor scored 21 points, took a game-high 16 rebounds comprised of nine offensive rebounds and seven defensive rebounds and made a game-high nine assists. Twice in 2021/22 Adelaide Lightning captain Steph Talbot had a double-double for points and rebounds along with eight assists in a game.

Whilst O’Hea was a prime candidate to have been the most recent player to record a triple double in the WNBL there was much surprise among basketball fans that the most recent triple double in the league was recorded just over a decade ago in November 2012. After this stat had emerged there hadn’t even been enough time for fans to engage in a discussion on who would be the next player to produce a triple double in the WNBL when George answered this question in emphatic fashion with a brilliant all-round game to produce a rare WNBL triple double in Melbourne’s 106-100 home victory against Adelaide in Round 7 one game after recording a near triple-double against the same opponent. 

In the first three minutes of the Melbourne Boomers Round 7 home game on Thursday 22 December against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre George had three assists to help set-up a Boomers 11-4 lead. Adelaide went on a 31-9 run to lead by 15 points, 35-20 after the first possession of the second quarter. Adelaide led 49-41 at half-time and George went to the main break having scored eight points, taken five rebounds and made six assists. In the first quarter George only scored two points, making a pair of free-throws with 15 seconds remaining in the term. George missed her first eight field goal attempts of the game before making her last three field goal attempts of the first half. George made a two-point pull up jump shot with four minutes and 35 seconds remaining in the second quarter and made a lay-up and another pull up jump shot later in the term.

Melbourne outscored Adelaide 30-23 in the third quarter led by 10 points from George and 11 points from Murray. During the term George provided two assists to Murray and Mia made one assist to Cayla. George shot the ball proficiently in the third quarter to make four of five field goal attempts, made a three-pointer and three lay-ups including one where she made an and one for the three-point play. At three quarter time George had scored 18 points, taken eight rebounds and made nine assists to be on pace to record a triple double.

During the first three minutes of the fourth quarter George took two rebounds, one offensive and one defensive to register a double-double. In the next three minutes of play George scored eight points comprised of a jump-shot and two three-pointers to help Melbourne gain the ascendancy and lead 88-82 with four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. At the end of regulation Melbourne and Adelaide were locked together on 91 points apiece.

Cayla George taking a rebound for Melbourne Boomers in the fourth quarter against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

Two minutes and seven seconds into overtime George made a three-pointer to gain the lead for the Boomers 96-94. With the Boomers leading 97-95 George provided an assist to Olivia Nelson-Ododa for a lay-up with 55 seconds left in overtime which extended the Boomers lead to 99-95 and brought up George’s triple double. The Melbourne Boomers went on to defeat Adelaide 106-100 in overtime in a high standard game which many people consider to be the game of the WNBL season to date.

Cayla George just before she made the pass to Olivia Nelson-Ododa in overtime to make her 10th assist and register a triple double playing for Melbourne Boomers against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

Against Adelaide George made 11 of 25 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 44%, made four of 10 three-pointers at 40% and four of five free-throws at 80% to score 30 points. George took 11 rebounds, made 10 assists and hadan equal team-high three steals along with Olivia Nelson-Ododa. In the Boomers overtime victory against Adelaide George set her highest tally of the season for both scoring and assists.

Cayla George making a three-pointer in overtime for Melbourne Boomers against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

Cayla George getting interviewed after the Melbourne Boomers game against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

George played all nine games for the Melbourne Boomers in the first 7 rounds of the 2022/23 WNBL season and averaged 17.3 points (ranked 7th in the WNBL), 11.8 rebounds (1st), 5.4 assists (4th), 2.2 steals (3rd), 0.8 blocked shots (equal 4th) and 36.8 minutes per (1st) game. George is the only player in the league that ranks in the top 10 of all six categories and one of only two players along with Perth Lynx centre Lauren Scherf to rank in the league’s top 10 for both rebounds and assists per game, highlighting George’s wide ranging skill set.

Cayla George making a three-pointer for Melbourne Boomers against Southside Flyers at the State Basketball Centre on 9 November 2022

On 17 January 2021 George scored the 4,000th point of her WNBL career, becoming just the 12th player in league history to reach this significant milestone. Below is a link to an article published on Milestones and Misses celebrating this milestone:

After Round 7 of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season George has played 315 WNBL games, ranked third among current players in the WNBL behind two fellow mums, Bendigo Spirit point guard Kelly Wilson (418 games) and Boomers teammate Murray (330). In her exceptional career George has scored 4,347 points – ranked seventh on the WNBL’s all-time list and has taken 3,030 rebounds to be ranked second on the WNBL’s all-time list behind Rachael Sporn with 3,229 rebounds.  

Cayla George shooting a free-throw for Melbourne Boomers against Sydney Flames at the State Basketball Centre on 20 February 2022

Team of the Week – Sami Whitcomb, Perth Lynx

Whilst it is common for American imports to gain an opportunity to play in Australia’s WNBL after playing in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the Unites States of America (USA) Whitcomb followed a very different career path. Without previous WNBA experience Whitcomb commenced her amazing Australian basketball journey playing as an import in the West Australian State Basketball League for the Rockingham Flames in 2013 with current Perth Lynx Head Coach Ryan Petrik as the club’s Head Coach.

Playing for Rockingham Flames from 2013 to 2015 Whitcomb dominated to be named the West Australian SBL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in all three seasons. Whitcomb was influential in Rockingham winning the club’s first two SBL championships in 2014 and 2015, being named the Grand Final MVP in both seasons. Playing in the State Basketball League in 2015 Whitcomb competed against her future wife, Kate Malpass who was a point guard for Willetton Tigers. Whitcomb and Malpass were each named in the 2015 SBL All-Star Five.

During May 2015 Whitcomb signed as an import to play with Perth Lynx in the WNBL for the 2015/16 season. Playing as a shooting guard Whitcomb made a total of 201 three-pointers across her first two WNBL seasons in 2015/16 and 2016/17, setting a league single season record for most three-pointers made with 105 in 2016/17.

Sami Whitcomb playing for Perth Lynx against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 15 October 2016

In 2016/17 Whitcomb averaged 24.1 points per game to lead the WNBL and finished second in the league’s MVP Award behind Suzy Batkovic. Playing as a point guard in 2017/18 Whitcomb finished runner-up in the WNBL’s Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year Award. In each of Whitcomb’s first three seasons at Perth she was selected in the WNBL’s All Star Five and the club made the finals, including making the Grand Final in 2015/16 and winning the minor premiership in 2017/18.

Sami Whitcomb shooting a three-pointer for Perth Lynx against Townsville Fire at the State Basketball Centre on 26 November 2017

Phenomenal performances for the Perth Lynx in the WNBL contributed to Whitcomb making her WNBA debut with Seattle Storm in 2017, seven years after going undrafted at the 2010 WNBA draft. From 2017 to 2022 Whitcomb played six consecutive WNBA seasons comprised of four seasons for Seattle from 2017 to 2020 and two seasons with New York Liberty in 2021 and 2022. Whitcomb played in two WNBA Championships with Seattle Storm in 2018 and 2020. Whitcomb has ranked in the WNBA’s top 25 for three-pointers made in five regular seasons including two seasons in the top 10.

In 2017 Whitcomb and Malpass got married in the United States of America. On 1 February 2018 Whitcomb became a naturalised Australian citizen. Whitcomb has represented the Australian women’s basketball team, the Opals with distinction. Whitcomb has won three medals with the Opals, a silver medal at the 2018 World Cup and bronze medals at the 2021 Asia Cup and 2022 World Cup held in Sydney. Whitcomb’s superb performances at the 2021 Asia Cup where she led the Opals in scoring and assists were rewarded with selection in the tournament’s All-Star Five. At the 2022 World Cup Whitcomb was Australia’s starting point guard and led the team in scoring and ranked second for assists.

Whilst basketball is important Whitcomb’s number one priority is her family. After the 2020 WNBA semi final series victory with Seattle Storm Whitcomb left the WNBA bubble to be with her wife Kate in Perth for the birth of their first child. Whilst in hotel quarantine in Sydney Whitcomb told “We made that call, it wasn’t really a call more of how do we do this. I wasn’t going to risk missing it or with things changing every day, every week if I didn’t take the flights now and something else happened. It was incredibly stressful and if it was that stressful for me I can only imagine how stressful it was for Kate. She’s sacrificed so much for me to participate in the WNBA season at all, she’s been so strong and done so much alone as it was, so it was important to me to make sure she knew that her and the baby are No.1.”4

In the 2020 WNBA Finals Seattle Storm swept the series, defeating Las Vegas Aces three games to nil to win the WNBA Championship. Whilst Whitcomb was in quarantine after the 2020 WNBA season she commented to host and fellow WNBL player Brittany Smart during The Smart Athlete – Episode #4 with Sami Whitcomb “Trying to survive double quarantine as well which has been difficult in itself. Now that I am here and the games (WNBA Finals) were happening and I could watch that was probably the hardest part really. It was amazing seeing them win. It was amazing still trying to be a part of it through the group chats and calls and did some videos with them. At the end of the day I wasn’t there, I didn’t get to celebrate with that trophy and all that stuff so that was difficult but I am happy with my decision, I know I made the right one and pretty soon I will be home and I will get to meet baby boy and that will be worth it.” In late 2020 Whitcomb and Malpass’ son Nash was born.

For the 2021/22 WNBL season Whitcomb returned to Perth Lynx to play her fourth season with the club. Perth experienced a very different 2021/22 WNBL season to other clubs due to Western Australia having tighter border restrictions than other Australian states to combat COVID-19. Perth Lynx had an extended pre-season and didn’t start their WNBL season until Round 5 with an extended time on the road, based in Victorian country town Ballarat.

From March 5 to 12 Perth played four consecutive home games at Bendat Basketball Centre, their only home games during the regular season. Perth finished second at the end of the regular season and were defeated in the Grand Final series by Melbourne Boomers two games to one. In 2021/22 Whitcomb ranked third in the WNBL for steals per game and equal fourth for three-pointers made.

Sami Whitcomb shooting a free-throw for Perth Lynx against University of Canberra Capitals at Selkirk Stadium, Ballarat on 19 January 2022

Whitcomb is playing her fifth WNBL season for Perth Lynx in 2022/23 and with it being a normal season is able to spend more time with wife Kate and son Nash than in the COVID affected 2021/22 season.

On 16 November 2022 in a Round 3 Perth Lynx home game against Sydney Flames Whitcomb reached 100 WNBL games. A link to the article published on Milestones and Misses to celebrate this milestone is below:

In Perth’s Round 7 road game against the University of Canberra Capitals at the National Convention Centre on Wednesday 21 December the Capitals burst out of the blocks and Perth trailed 6-15 with five minutes and 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Perth were able to reduce the deficit to three points, 44-47 at the main break. In the first half Whitcomb scored seven points and Capitals guard Jade Melbourne had been the best player on court, scoring 20 points.

With seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Perth led the Capitals 74-73. Perth captain Whitcomb’s experience and class came to the fore and she dominated from that point on to score  15 points comprised of three driving lay-ups, two three-point pull up jump shots, a floating jump shot and a free throw. Led by Whitcomb Perth outscored the Capitals 30-15 in the last term to have a 97-83 victory. In addition to her scoring spree Whitcomb also took two rebounds and made four assists in the final term. Melbourne was restricted to four points after half-time and finished the game with 24 points.

Whitcomb scored 19 points in the second half to finish with a game-high 26 points, took six rebounds and made an equal game-high seven assists along with Melbourne. Sami made 10 of 20 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 50% and made all four free-throws.

During a post-game interview on ESPN following Perth’s victory against the Capitals Whitcomb commented on the Lynx gaining the ascendancy in the second half saying “I think it was that defensive effort. We did a better job on the O boards which has been a really big issue for us but like Jade was killing us, so a lot of that was us guards, we had to do a better job of reading what we were going to do, go over or under, mix that up on her. Ultimately I think we just stayed really focussed and lifted our intensity.”

After the game Perth Head Coach Ryan Petrik commented to ESPN on Whitcomb “She’s just a big-time player and obviously she had some foul trouble to deal with but you put the ball in her hands with her and Scherfy, at some point basketball becomes really simple if you put your best two or three players in an action and let them try and figure it out. Scherfy and Sam were brilliant.” Scherf scored 18 points, took nine rebounds and made five assists.

Whitcomb has played seven of Perth’s eight games to the end of Round 7 and averaged 17.0 points (ranked equal 8th in the WNBL), 4.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists (equal 10th), 1.0 steals and 32.5 minutes per game. Whitcomb has made 2.3 three-pointers per game, ranked equal seventh in the league.

Team of the Week – Shyla Heal, Sydney Flames

During the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season Shyla Heal is in the second season of a three-year deal with the Sydney Flames. At just 21 years of age Shyla Heal is already in her sixth WNBL season, having made her debut at 14 years of age in 2015/16 with the SEQ Stars where she was coached by dad Shane. Shyla played 11 games with the Perth Lynx in 2018/19 and across her first two WNBL seasons played limited game-time.

Point guard Heal excelled at under-age level for Australia with a highlight being selection in the All-Star five at the 2018 FIBA Under 17 World Cup in Belarus after averaging 16.0 points – ranked second overall at the tournament, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Heal played a pivotal role in the Australian Sapphires winning the bronze medal and scored an equal game-high 16 points in the bronze medal game against Hungary.

Playing for Bendigo Spirit in 2019/20 Heal was given more opportunity and led the team in scoring with 12.1 points (ranked 24th in the WNBL) in 25.3 minutes per game. Heal was one of three players in 2019/20 that averaged more than 12.0 points in less than 28.0 minutes per game along with Ezi Magbegor and current Sydney teammate Keely Froling.

In 2020 with Townsville Fire Heal had a breakout season to average 16.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game, contributing to Townsville making the Grand Final. Heal was selected in the 2020 All-WNBL Second Team and also won the Betty Watson Australian Youth Player of the Year Award.

During the 2021/22 WNBL season Shyla played for the Sydney Uni Flames and was again coached by her dad Shane. For the Sydney Flames in 2021/22 Heal played 14 games and averaged 15.6 points (ranked 10th in the WNBL), 4.4 rebounds, a WNBL career-high 4.3 assists (ranked 7th) and 1.3 steals per game. Heal was a joint winner of the Sydney Uni Flames 2021/22 MVP Award along with Froling and finished runner up in the WNBL’s 2021/22 Betty Watson Youth Player of the Year Award behind Magbegor.

Shyla Heal playing for Sydney Uni Flames against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 20 February 2022

On Friday 23 December 2022 Sydney Flames played a Round 7 home game against the UC Capitals at Quay Centre. In the opening possession of the game Heal was fouled whilst making a driving lay-up and then made the free throw for the three-point play. Heal scored 12 points in the first half and at the main break Sydney led the Capitals 42-40. During the third quarter Heal scored eight points comprised of two driving lay-ups, a three pointer and a free-throw. Sydney outscored the Capitals 24-12 in the final term to have a 87-72 victory. Heal scored 22 points, took a team-high eight rebounds, made a game-high six assists and an equal game-high two steals.

Shyla Heal shooting a three-pointer for Sydney Flames against Southside Flyers at the State Basketball Centre on 1 December 2022

Following Sydney’s Round 7 home victory against the Capitals Flames court announcer Briana Goodchild had a post-game interview with Shyla Heal that was published on During the interview Heal commented “The crowd was awesome, so many little kids in the crowd, that’s really why we play, we want to inspire them to keep playing and really look up to us.” Goodchild asked “I spoke to you at half-time, you were saying you hadn’t quite fired up as much as you needed to. Remind me of what was going through your mind at half-time?” Shyla responded “We had a lot of defensive breakdowns, we do double fist which is our full-court press, we’ve spoken about our breakdowns through that and we just weren’t sticking to the scout so we adjusted in the second half and we came out with the win. We also said that we needed to work on playing four straight quarters of good basketball and we did that so now we need to back it up next week against Caps and then also do it against the really great teams too.”

Heal’s selection in the Round 7 Team of the Week was the second time that she had been named in the TOTW this season, having been named a fortnight earlier in Round 5 for a performance against the Capitals in which she scored 21 points, took six rebounds and made six assists. Below is a link to Milestones and Misses Cygnett WNBL Round 5 Team of the Week article:

Shyla Heal playing for Sydney Flames against Southside Flyers at the State Basketball Centre on 1 December 2022

Heal played all nine games for Sydney Flames in 2022/23 to the end of Round 7 and averaged 15.7 points (ranked equal 10th in the WNBL), 4.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists (equal 10th) 1.0 steals and 34.8 minutes (5th) per game. 

Team of the Week – Lauren Jackson, Southside Flyers

Lauren Jackson is Australia’s greatest ever basketball player and achieved just everything you could possibly dream of in the WNBL, WNBA and with the Australian Opals from her WNBL debut with the Australian Institute of Sport in 1997 to her initial retirement on 31 March 2016.

Jackson won the WNBL’s Grand Final MVP Award four times which is the league’s All-time record and won the WNBL’s regular season MVP Award four times – ranked second on the All-time list behind Suzy Batkovic (who the medal is now named after) with six. Jackson played in five WNBL Championships comprised of one for the AIS and four for the Canberra Capitals.

From 1998 to 2012 Jackson represented the Opals with distinction at eight consecutive major championships comprised of four Olympic Games and four World Championships. Jackson was the captain of the Opals in four major championships from 2006 to 2012 and was Australia’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Jackson won seven medals at major championships with the Australian Opals including gold at the 2006 World Championships in Brazil where she finished runner-up in the tournament’s MVP Award to teammate Penny Taylor.

At six major championships Jackson ranked in the top three overall in scoring per game including ranking first three times – 2002 and 2006 World Championships as well as 2004 Olympic Games. Jackson also ranked in the top four overall in rebounding per game at a major championships five times.

In the 2001 WNBA Draft on 20 April Seattle Storm selected Jackson with the first pick overall. Forward/centre Jackson played 12 consecutive seasons from 2001 to 2012 with the Seattle Storm, was selected in the All-WNBA First team seven times and won three WNBA MVP Awards – 2003, 2007 and 2010. In 2007 Jackson won the WNBA’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Awards in the same season – a feat that as at the end of the 2022 season has only been achieved by five players in league history. Jackson played in the Storm’s first two WNBA championships in 2004 and 2010 alongside point guard Sue Bird and won the 2010 WNBA Finals MVP Award.

For all of her incredible achievements during an illustrious basketball career spanning two decades from 1997 to 2016 Jackson was unable to finish her basketball career on the terms that she wanted. In 2014/15 playing for the University of Canberra Capitals Jackson was teammates with current Southside Flyers teammate Abby Bishop. Due to a knee injury Jackson was only able to play six games for the season with the Capitals having a record of five wins and one loss in these games. The Capitals had 11 wins and 11 losses in 2014/15 and narrowly missed out on the finals. Jackson was signed by the Canberra Capitals for the 2015/16 WNBL season but due to a knee injury didn’t play a game in 2015. On New Years Eve 2015 Jackson was released from her Capitals contract. Jackson continued to work with Australian Opals staff in an attempt to play at the 2016 Olympics, however in March she realised she wouldn’t be able to achieve this to her knee injury. At the start of the Opals first training camp in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics Jackson announced her retirement on 31 March 2016.

In late May 2016 Jackson joined WNBL club, Melbourne Boomers in an off-court executive role as Commercial Operations Manager. Basketball Australia appointed Jackson as Head of Women in Basketball in June 2019. On 26 March 2020 FIBA announced that Australia had won the bid to host the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup with Sydney being the host city. In her role with Basketball Australia Jackson was involved in the planning and publicity of the 2022 World Cup. Jackson has two sons, Harry born in early 2017 and Lenny born in late 2018.   

Lauren Jackson making a presentation to Abby Bishop at Dandenong Stadium on 18 December 2021 for Bishop’s 250th WNBL game

Just over six years after her initial injury forced retirement Jackson made her return as a basketball player with the Albury Wodonga Bandits in a Round 3 NBL1 East road game on 23 April. In her return game Jackson scored a team-high 21 points playing 22 minutes and 29 seconds court-time against the Central Coast Crusaders. Albury Wodonga play their home games at a venue named in LJ’s honour – the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre and in the first game of her comeback on this court Jackson dominated with 31 points and 24 rebounds in a 97-80 victory against Manly Warringah.

The Bandits won the NBL1 East Grand Final and Jackson won the league’s regular season Most Valuable Player Award. Including finals Jackson played 14 games for the Bandits during the 2022 NBL1 East season, averaging 31.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game.

In late July 2022 Jackson attended an Australian Opals training camp in New York City and played in both of the Opals practice matches against Canada. On 10 August 2022 Jackson was one of the 12 players selected in the Opals team for the 2022 World Cup. At 41 years of age Jackson would get to compete in her ninth major championship just over a decade after being a member of the Opals bronze medal winning team at the 2012 London Olympic Games. 

At the 2022 FIBA World Cup held in Sydney from 22 September to 1 October Jackson played off the bench and made an impact in her time on-court. On the day of the Opals bronze medal game against Canada Jackson announced that it would be her last game representing the Australian Opals. During the bronze medal game against Canada Jackson put on an exhibition to score a phenomenal game-high 30 points at an accuracy of 68.8% from the field in 21 minutes court-time to have a fairytale finish to her international career in the Opals 95-65 victory to win the bronze medal.

In the post-game press conference after Australia’s victory against Canada in the bronze medal game Jackson commented “This journey, I’ve said it before to all of you, it’s just been the most humbling but incredible ten months of my life. I said to Sandy after the game… just thank you for selecting me, because it’s given me the opportunity to just play the sport I love in front of Australia again and to say goodbye this way is just magnificent. I couldn’t have imagined it.” At the 2022 World Cup Jackson ranked third for the Opals in steals, fourth in scoring and achieved her aim of contributing to the Opals getting back on the podium.

After Jackson’s incredible performance in the Opals victory against Canada to win the bronze medal at the 2022 World Cup she was asked in the press conference if she would consider returning to play for the Opals at the 2024 Olympic Games. Jackson responded “My kids, they’re only babies. They’ve made sacrifices for me to be here. I’ve spent a lot time away from them for the last two months and it’s too hard on me and it’s too hard on them. They need their mummy and I need my babies so I’m done.”

Below is a link to a 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World cup preview and Australian Opals player profiles article published on Milestones and Misses on the eve of the 2022 World Cup:

In August 2022 the Southside Flyers announced that Jackson had signed with the club for the 2022/23 WNBL season. Director of the Flyers, Gerry Ryan told “Lauren is an icon of Australian sport, a great role model, and she will not only be a wonderful contributor to the team on the court, but she will also play an enormous role in building our program to support and develop more opportunities for girls and women in basketball and sport in general. Her comeback is an inspiration for everyone to continue to strive and not give up, in sport and in life. The Flyers are about family and we know how important family is to Lauren and we welcome her family to the team.”5

Jackson is one of three mothers on the Southside Flyers 2022/23 playing roster along with Bishop and Carley Ernst. Jackson and Bishop have been Australian Opals teammates at several tournaments including the 2010 World Championships and 2012 Olympic Games and have also been teammates in the WNBL previously at Canberra including in the Capitals 2009/10 Championship winning season. Australian Opals assistant coach Cheryl Chambers is the Head Coach of the Southside Flyers.

Jackson works for Basketball Australia three and a half days a week in the role as Head of Women in Basketball. The Southside Flyers are based at and play their home games at the State Basketball Centre which is also where Basketball Australia are located, making it easier for Jackson to manage her on and off court basketball roles.

The plan was for Lauren’s sons Harry and Lenny to be predominantly based in Albury with their grandparents until the end of the 2022 school year, however in the week before Southside’s season commenced these plans changed. Jackson told CODE Sports “Every time I leave, the kids are hysterical, and it’s getting worse. It’s hard. It’s just too hard to keep leaving them and only seeing them once a week or whatever. So, yeah, they’ll be here with me from now on, pretty much. It’s too traumatising, being away from them, and they are everything to me. It’s not gonna work for me without the kids, so I need ‘em here. They are gonna be here.”6

On 5 November 2022 Jackson made her WNBL return with the Southside Flyers as a starter in a home game at the State Basketball Centre against Adelaide Lightning. Joining Jackson in the Flyers frontcourt was Sara Blicavs, a teammate of Jackson’s on the Opals bronze medal winning team at the 2022 World Cup. Jackson scored 10 points in the Flyers 99-91 victory. The #1 moment from Round 1 of the Cygnett WNBL 2022/23 season on the ESPN Live Top 5 Countdown was ‘The Goat returns: Lauren Jackson.’ In the video for the countdown Jackson commented “It felt really good to be out there, my kids were here and we had a great crowd. What I am doing now it is more just because I love the sport and when I play I have so much fun, I enjoy it.”

During a post-game interview on ESPN following Southside’s Round 2 home victory against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 9 November Jackson commented on the growing crowd support for women’s basketball in Australia, saying “It is awesome, we have had great momentum post the World Cup and I think we are going to keep seeing great crowds and great support for the women’s game, I think we play a great style of basketball and it is a lot of fun to be out here. When you can’t hear anything on the court because the crowd’s going berserk it is a lot of fun.”

Lauren Jackson shooting a jump shot for Southside Flyers against Melbourne Boomers at the State Basketball Centre on 9 November 2022

In a road game on 8 December 2022 against Perth Lynx at Bendat Basketball Centre Jackson scored 25 points and took 12 rebounds in a Flyers 83-74 victory to register her first double double in the WNBL since 15 January 2015 playing for the University of Canberra Capitals.

On the road in Round 7 Southside played Bendigo Spirit who had won their first seven games of the season to have the best start to a season in their club history. Five players competing in the WNBL in 2022/23 have won a regular season MVP award and this game featured four frontcourt players from this select group – Jackson and Bishop for Southside along with Kelsey Griffin and Anneli Maley for Bendigo. The group of current players that have won a regular season MVP award is completed by Adelaide Lightning captain Steph Talbot. 

Southside scored the first five points of the game and went on to lead Bendigo 49-34 at half time. Jackson scored 10 points in the third quarter comprised of a two-point jump shot, two free-throws and two three-pointers made on consecutive possessions in the final minute of the term. Southside outscored Bendigo 32-17 for the term to extend the lead to 30 points, 81-51 at three quarter time.

After a low scoring final quarter Southside recorded a convincing 29 point victory, 96-67. Jackson scored a game-high 20 points and took a game-high 13 rebounds comprised of three offensive and three defensive to earn selection in the WNBL’s Round 7 Team of the Week. Jackson shot the ball superbly to make seven of 13 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 53.8% and two of three three-pointers at 66.7%. Jackson was the only player for the game to register a double double. Against Bendigo Spirit six Southside Flyers were in double figures for scoring including all three mothers on the team with Ernst and Bishop scoring 13 and 11 points respectively.

At the end of Round 7 of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season Jackson had played six of Southside’s nine games and had averaged 16.3 points (ranked 11th in the WNBL), 6.7 rebounds (11th), 1.0 steals and 25.1 minutes per game. 41 year old Jackson is only of only two players that ranks in the WNBL’s top 25 for scoring and is averaging less than 27.0 minutes per game along with 18 year Adelaide Lightning guard Isobel Borlase.

In addition to Jackson’s on-court performances for the Southside Flyers in the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season has also generated more mainstream media coverage and she has been a massive hit with fans post-game. After Southside Flyers games, both at home and on the road there have been massive cues of fans post-game seeking an autograph and/or photo with Jackson post-game. Jackson has been extremely patient and engaging with the cross section of WNBL fans wanting to interact with her. Some children in the cues are seeing Jackson play for the first time. Jackson told The Sydney Morning Herald in mid-December“They would have never seen me and only heard of me through their parents. It is a real diverse mix of people coming to watch. People have been so supportive and it has been so overwhelming, and I feel like I have an obligation to them and the sport as well. It has given me so much and it’s so special that I get to share this now with everybody, this last time. And I say last time in the sense that once this, whatever it is, is done, it’s done.”7

Fans getting a photograph with Lauren Jackson after Southside Flyers game against Townsville Fire at the State Basketball Centre on 10 December 2022

Team of the Week – Mia Murray, Melbourne Boomers

In 2022/23 Mia Murray (nee Newley) is playing her 16th season in the WNBL. Murray and current Boomers captain Cayla George both made their WNBL debuts with the Australian Institute of Sport in 2005/06 and were teammates for the first five WNBL seasons of their careers comprised of three seasons at the AIS from 2005/06 to 2007/08 followed by two seasons with Adelaide Lightning in 2008/09 and 2009/10.

Murray’s nine WNBL seasons before 2022/23 were all with Townsville Fire spread across two stints. Murray played seven consecutive seasons for Townsville from 2011/12 to 2017/18. During this time Murray played in three WNBL Championships for Townsville alongside current Boomers teammate George in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2017/18. Current Boomers Head Coach Chris Lucas was the Head Coach for Townsville’s first two Championship winning teams and Claudia Brassard was the coach of Townsville’s 2017/18 title winning team. In the 2014/15 Grand Final Murray scored a game-high 23 points shooting at 50% from the field, made three of five three-pointers, took seven rebounds and made three assists in Townsville’s 75-65 victory against Bendigo to win the Rachael Sporn medal as Grand Final Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Mia Murray playing for Townsville Fire against Perth Lynx at the State Basketball Centre on 26 November 2017

Murray had a son Sidney in October 2019 and didn’t play in the WNBL in 2018/19 or 2019/20. Murray returned to play for Townsville Fire in the 2020 and 2021/22 WNBL seasons. In 2021/22 playing for Townsville Murray made 1.7 three-pointers per game, ranked equal 12th in the WNBL with current Melbourne Boomers teammate Tess Madgen.

Mia Murray shooting a free-throw for Townsville Fire against the Melbourne Boomers at Melbourne Sports Centres Parkville on 22 January 2022

Murray was a co-host along with Megan Hustwaite of The WNBL Show – EP06 published on 6 December 2022. On the dynamic in 2022/23 of playing for the Melbourne Boomers and having George as a teammate and Lucas as a Head Coach again Murray told The WNBL Show “It is like we had never left. I remember exactly what Chris was like and I have to thank Cayla for getting me down here because I think if I had said no she would be on to me. It is great to be playing with her again, I think being away from her and then back again I have just realised how much of a determined individual she is. I have seen her develop as a leader and she is just so much fun to be around. It is great to be back together.”

Hustwaite asked “It was a big move though wasn’t it because you have obviously moved your family down here. Was it a big decision you had to make as a family to leave Townsville and take this contract in Boomers?” Murray replied “It was, I think for me to take the leap it was huge and I still felt that I could play and contribute. I think I was a little bit surprised to get a call-up. I was disappointed to not play out the end of my days with Townsville but that is the way it is. Max was fully supportive of it, he’s taken long service leave, he is doing the daddy day-care thing, he is smashing it and it has been a good move for us. I had the best part of a decade up in Townsville playing for the Fire and I am extremely grateful to Shannon and the club for allowing me to come back and play after having Sidney, I enjoyed two good years there after that. Circumstances change and you never know what might happen.”

After Melbourne defeated Perth Lynx in the 2022/23 WNBL season opener on the road Boomers Head Coach Chris Lucas commented on Murray in a post-game interview on ESPN “I have absolute confidence in her, she prepares really well, she is low maintenance and when she became available I was really pleased to wrap her up.”

During The WNBL Show – EP06 co-host Hustwaite commented to Murray “You came to Melbourne probably to play a role but it has been a much bigger role because of the injuries you have had and you have been starting and winding back the clock.” Murray responded “When Chris spoke to me about coming down he did mention coming off the bench. He did say get fit and get ready to shoot. I know what every Chris Lucas pre-season is like and I know the style that he likes to play and I knew that I would have to get in pretty good shape to do that but I wasn’t expecting to play the minutes that I have been playing.”

Tess Madgen has been kept on the sidelines for the season to date due to a knee injury which has led  to Murray’s role for the Boomers being vastly different to the one she was recruited to play. Throughout the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season Murray has been extremely effective in a starting role for the Boomers to score at least seven points in every game and score more than 14 points in a game three times in the first six rounds.

In the first half of Melbourne Boomers home Round 7 game against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on Thursday 22 December Murray scored 15 points to play a critical role in Melbourne remaining within striking distance and trailing by eight points, 41-49 at the main break.

Murray was extremely efficient in the third quarter to make four of five field goals, making three three-pointers and one floating two point jump shot. The Boomers duo of mothers scored 21 points between them in the third quarter comprised of 11 points from Murray and 10 points for George to help Melbourne outscore Adelaide 30-23 for the term to reduce the deficit to one point at three quarter time. 

Mia Murray just before shooting a three-pointer for Melbourne Boomers against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

With nine minutes and 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Murray made her sixth three-pointer of the game to level the scores at 74 points apiece. The Boomers led 88-82 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. After Adelaide went on a 9-0 run Melbourne trailed 88-91 with less than a minute to play in the last quarter. When they needed a basket the most Murray delivered for the Boomers, making a corner three-pointer with 41 seconds remaining to tie the scores at 91 points apiece in what was the final score of regulation. Murray made two free throws with 11 seconds left in overtime to increase her tally to 34 points and extend the Boomers lead to six points, 106-100 in the final score for the game.

Mia Murray making a free-throw with 11 seconds left in overtime for Melbourne Boomers against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

Murray delivered a phenomenal shooting exhibition to make 11 of 16 field goal attempts at an accuracy of 68.8%, seven of nine three-pointers at an incredible accuracy of 77.8% and made all five free-throws to score a game-high 34 points. Murray also took four rebounds, all defensive and made two assists in the Boomers thrilling victory to earn selection in the WNBL’s Round 7 Team of the Week. 

Mia Murray shooting a three-pointer for Melbourne Boomers in the second half against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

Instead of playing off the bench Murray has started every game for the Boomers and ranks in the top five for minutes played of not just the Boomers but the entire WNBL! Murray has averaged 34.9 minutes per game – ranked fourth in the WNBL and third at the Boomers behind league-leader George (36.8 minutes per game) and Tiffany Mitchell (36.3). Coach Lucas’ instruction when recruiting Murray was to get ready to shoot and Mia has certainly done this frequently and at a high accuracy. Murray leads the WNBL with a career-best 3.1 three-pointers made per game and has a three-point accuracy of 48.0% – ranked fourth in the league among players that have made at least five three-pointers for the season. Boomers teammate Mitchell leads the league in this category with a three-point accuracy of 56.0%.

The Melbourne Boomers are on top of the ladder after Round 7 with eight wins and one loss. In their ninth season as teammates Murray and George look ideally placed to embark on another finals campaign and will aim to win their fourth championship together, having won titles in each of their previous three seasons as teammates with Townsville in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2017/18.  

At the end of Round 7 of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season Murray played all nine games for Melbourne and averaged 14.2 points (ranked equal 18th in the WNBL), 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 34.9 minutes per game. Mia has made 18 of 19 free-throws at an accuracy of 94.7% – ranked equal third in the league among players that have made at least five free-throws for the season. Murray’s average of 14.2 points per game this season is the highest output of her career, just ahead of 14.1 points per game playing for Townsville Fire in 2016/17.

Mia Murray playing for Melbourne Boomers against Adelaide Lightning at the State Basketball Centre on 22 December 2022

A benchmark for outstanding shooting is having a field goal accuracy of 50%, three-point accuracy of 40% and a free-throw accuracy of 90%. Murray falls just short of the first threshold with a field goal accuracy of 48.8% and is well above the latter two thresholds with a career-best three-point accuracy of 48.0% and a free-throw accuracy of 94.7%. More than two thirds of Murray’s shot attempts in 2022/23 have been three-pointers which is considerably higher than the league average. Murray’s highest accuracy from behind the arc before this season was 42.9% for Adelaide in 2008/09. Whilst Murray may have been surprised to receive a call up from the Melbourne Boomers for the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season she is well and truly delivering and is having the best shooting season of her entire WNBL career to play a pivotal role in the Boomers being on top of the ladder after Round 7.


On 2 November 2022 Milestones and Misses published a Melbourne Boomers player profiles and preview of the 2022/23 Cygnett WNBL season article. Below is a link to this article as well the WNBL 2022/23 player profiles category:

Player Profiles articles have also been published on:




Sydney and


Articles are still to be published on:

Adelaide and



Article and photographs by Dean Andrews

Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777









Milestones and Misses

Milestones and Misses publishes articles to celebrate the achievements of sportspeople, mainly in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and Australian Rules Football (AFL and AFLW). In sport as with life in general it is common that milestones are only achieved after overcoming adversity, so whilst the articles on the Milestones and Misses website celebrate sportspeople achieving milestones they also cover the misses along the journey such as a player having minimal game-time or spending a prolonged period on the sidelines due to injury. The aim of the articles is to enable readers to gain a greater appreciation of the journey sportspeople have had during their career.

A link to Milestones and Misses homepage and WNBL category is below:

The Milestones and Misses website was set up in December 2015. From 2020 onwards articles have been published on the following sportspeople:


Sami Whitcomb

Abbey Wehrung

Penny Taylor

Rachel Jarry

Steph Reid

Kristy Wallace

Anneli Maley

Lindsay Allen

Jade Melbourne

Maddison Rocci

Cayla George

Kelly Wilson

Steph Talbot

Bec Cole

Aimie Rocci

Abby Bishop

Tessa Lavey

Ezi Magbegor

Zitina Aokuso

Leilani Mitchell

Maddie Garrick

Sara Blicavs


Nathan Sobey


Ashleigh Riddell

Hayley Miller

Darcy Vescio

Tessa Lavey

Georgia Patrikios

Alyce Parker

Tyla Hanks

Tyanna Smith

Tarni White

Caitlin Greiser


Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin

Nicky Winmar

Sam Walsh

Jack Steele

Luke Jackson

Harry McKay

Seb Ross

Jayden Short

Clayton Oliver

Lenny Hayes

Tim Membrey

Rowan Marshall

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