When the news broke that the Dallas Wings were going to re-sign Liz Cambage they knew they were getting a good scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker—all of which they desperately needed. But there’s no way the Wings knew that the 6’8” center was going to set the new WNBA scoring record. Cambage was drafted by the Wings (formerly the Shock) in Tulsa as a 19-year-old but only played for two separate seasons back in 2011 and 2013. She averaged 11.5 and 16.3 points respectively in those two seasons but took some time away from the WNBA to work on her game in China and her native Australia.
And on Tuesday afternoon in Arlington, Texas all of that work paid off in a big way.
A 12:00 pm Central Time tip off on a Tuesday seems like an odd start time for any professional sport. But it was officially called “Kids Day” at the College Park Center and nearly 5,000 kids were on hand to witness the greatness of Liz Cambage.
Here’s how she smashed the WNBA scoring record in only a way she possibly could.
Cambage scored the first point of the game on a inbounds pass from Glory Johnson. Cambage faces up on Kia Vaughn, takes one dribble, and leans in for the short jump shot. Her balance on plays like this is fairly incredible.
On the very next possession Alisha Gray finds Cambage at the top of the key and she hits a catch-and-shoot jumper.
A few plays later she shows off a new development in her game—a three point jump shot. Cambage had only attempted five threes in her two seasons in the WNBA before this year. But now she’s starting to attempt them more regularly and in this game she was feeling it.
This is one of the tallest and most physical post players in the entire League stepping out and hitting a three-point jumper.
At this point Cambage has posted up, ran to the rim, and hit a few jump shots. But then she makes it nearly impossible for the defense by driving into the paint and hitting a floater. I mean... what are you supposed to do to defend this?
Cambage calls for the ball, looks to pass, and then spins into her defender who is rendered helpless as Cambage gathers and floats the ball up into the basket.
In the second quarter the New York Liberty threw in the towel and sent Cambage to the free throw line five times where she hit all 10 of her free throw attempts.
This play pretty much summed up the day for the Liberty on the defensive end. Diggins-Smith bolts to the baseline and slings a bullet pass to Alisha Gray on the left wing. All five Liberty players (Libertiers? Daughters of Liberty?) get caught watching the ball on this whole possession and Cambage finds wide open space in the paint for a shot attempt. Three Liberty players collapse on her and Cambage is fouled—probably more than once.
The combination of height, strength, and finesse is what makes Liz Cambage so unguardable at times. Vaughn does everything she can to defend this post touch but Cambage bumps her to get separation and rises up over her for a high jumper in the lane.
Another example of this deadly combination came in the fourth quarter when Kiah Stokes was given a chance to guard Cambage at the elbow. Cambage faces up Stokes, crosses her over, and drives straight to the cup for an And 1 that would make Carlos Boozer proud.
Coming into Tuesday Cambage had only hit five three-point shots the entire season. But she capped off her historic performance with this shot that is absolutely unfair. She even slightly kicks her left leg back as if in a fit of joy.
After the game Cambage told Fox Sports Southwest that she’s hearing all the doubters.
“I’ve had big numbers in China, I’ve had big numbers in Australia, I’ve heard a lot of people say I could never have big numbers in the WNBA so I guess this game was for y’all.”
Liz Cambage’s performance will be remembered forever for being the highest scoring game in WNBA history, but the 26 year old isn’t done proving the doubters wrong just yet.