Ahead of her team's WNBL semifinal series against the Deakin Melbourne Boomers, Adelaide Lightning co-captain Nicole Seekamp talks to The CEO Magazine about the team's hot run of form and the challenge of guarding WNBA star Lindsay Allen.
After spluttering to a 1-4 start to the season, the Adelaide Lightning clicked into gear into the back half of the competition, reeling off 12 wins from their final 16 games to enter the semi-finals in third position.
That placement means they will play Melbourne in a best-of-three series starting this Sunday, 27 January at 5pm local time for a spot in the grand final.
Along with the team’s resurgence, Seekamp had a great individual year, winning a gold medal with the Opals at the Commonwealth Games and putting up 12 points, five rebounds and five assists a game in the WNBL. She also led the league in steals, a feat she largely attributes to her ability to read the game as a point guard.
A newly improved shooting range made her more of an off-ball threat as her three-point percentage jumped from 28% to 42%, a product of sheer hard work in the off-season.
— Melbourne Boomers (@MelbourneBoomer) January 22, 2019
Seekamp v Allen will be a highlight of the series
The Lightning will need Seekamp at her best to beat Melbourne, who got the better of them in all three games this season. Two of those losses were closely fought affairs, however, and Seekamp says her team managed to identify what worked against their upcoming opponents.
“We were aggressive on defence,” she says. “We were able to get to stops and that led to our transition game, which I think is going to be a huge key for us.
One of the pivotal players in the series will be Melbourne point guard Lindsay Allen, a multi-level scorer whose elite court vision and ability to sliver through traffic to the rim has made her one of the MVP frontrunners.
— Gold Coast 2018 (@GC2018) April 14, 2018
Seekamp’s defensive versatility is one of her best attributes and she expects to get the task of guarding Allen in the upcoming series. It’s a considerable challenge, but one she is up for.
“She’s a great player,” Seekamp says. “She is going to be hard to stop.
“I feel like she is going to get a few points, so we just have to make it hard for her.
“Last game, she killed us in ball screens. We have to be able to stop her in those situations, limit her touches and get the ball out of her hands.
Seekamp will draw on all her tenacity and feel for the game as she tries to limit the silky Notre Dame alum and hopes to keep the assignment throughout the series.
“I’ll try to stay on her as much as possible so we don’t have to rely on switching.
“It’s always there (as an option) and it’s probably a part of our game but if we don’t have to switch, we’re going to try not to.”
Nicole Seekamp guarded by semifinal opponent Lindsay Allen. Image credit: Adelaide Basketball
Seekamp pays tribute to teammate Lauren Nicholson
The Lightning’s strong finish to the season has been built around committed defence and an unselfish ball movement, two qualities exemplified by Seekamp’s teammate Lauren Nicholson. She agrees with an assessment of Nicholson as the WNBL’s most underrated player.
“She’s a great competitor on both ends of the floor,” Seekamp enthuses. “Offensively, she is going to give you everything and…she can lock anyone down, she can play on a post or on a guard.
“I would say she is extremely underrated and she has really stepped up this year which has been a big help to our team getting to where we are.”
Header image credit: Adelaide Basketball