Adelaide Lightning: Captain Nicole Seekamp raring to go
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Having spent the off-season training in the United States and then in India on Opals duties, Adelaide Lightning captain Nicole Seekamp has brought a new, sharper focus to the basketball court this season.
Despite not earning a playing contract, the 27-year-old said she learnt a lot about herself in the process.
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“I was obviously disappointed because I would have loved to have made the team, but I still learnt a lot going over there and experiencing that … I always look at any experience as a good experience because you can always take something from it, so as much as it was tough and a mental battle, it was also very good for me and hopefully making me a better player now,” she said.
The point guard played in all three of the Wings’ pre-season games in May, in which she shot a total of four points, also recording five assists, two rebounds, two steals and seven turnovers.
Asked about Seekamp’s performance, Phillips – who is an assistant coach at the Wings – said selection came down to the wire.
“I thought she would potentially get through, it wouldn’t surprise me if she gets on a list next season, having at least one experience through training camp,” Phillips said.
“I thought that she did really well. But just in the end, got beat out by another point guard, but I think she can play in this league, that’s why I put her name up.
“It’s hard; this is the best league in the world and I think she can play.
“She’s going to go away and work on her game and if she keeps improving, I can’t see why not she can’t play in this league, because she definitely showed some signs that she can handle it with the best.”
Seekamp described the WNBA – the world’s best women’s basketball competition – as a “completely different world”.
“Over there, it’s a lot faster, so as a point guard, when I come off my ball screens, or my passing, here it’s fine, but over there, they just recover that little bit faster and so I’d get a lot of deflections and stuff, so it showed me I could be a bit crisper and cleaner with my passes and be a bit more aggressive too,” she said.
“I’m usually a team player, and you should be a team player, but (the experience also) showed me that sometimes I should be a bit more aggressive as well.”
That only bodes well as Seekamp attacks not only her third consecutive season with the Lightning – first as stand-alone captain – but as she works toward her dream of representing Australia with the Opals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
With a new-look team to lead (only herself and Lauren Nicholson remain from last season’s starting five that took the WNBL grand final series to a third game against the eventual champions UC Capitals), she is looking forward to helping the basketballers form a team bond similar to what was achieved last year.
“I like to send (the players) messages and just make sure that they know I’m thinking about them outside of basketball because it’s not just all about basketball,” Seekamp said.
“You’ve got to be happy off the court and I think being happy off the court relays onto the court so that you can get out there and not have to think about anything else, you just play.
“That’s what I try to do, to make sure everyone is feeling good about themselves.”
After almost a month on the road since their first home game on October 11, the Lightning return to Titanium Arena on Saturday to take on Bendigo Spirit.
Adelaide is currently sitting third on the ladder with 3-2, behind the Melbourne Boomers and the undefeated Southside Flyers.
Originally published as Seekamp is Lightning’s captain courageous