RETURNING to the big time, the next step in her incredible basketball journey, Liz Cambage was officially welcomed back to the WNBA today.
After bidding farewell to Victoria after a phenomenal return to the WNBL with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers, Cambage is set to unite with a power-packed Wings line-up including WNBA All Stars Skyler Diggins-Smith and Glory Johnson.
At her introductory press conference with the Dallas Wings today, Cambage was excited for what the future holds in the WNBA.
Signing on with the Dallas Wings for the 2018 caps off a triumphant return to all aspects of basketball for Cambage following a difficult 2017.
“I’m really happy to be here and really excited for the season,” Cambage said. “I don’t think it really got serious until the Olympics and I was out here with the Opals team in Dallas.
“We (Cambage and Dallas Wings) had a little sit down and chat and I said that I do want to come back and play, it’s just I really needed a break.
“So I took 2017 off, got right mentally and physically; I was in a really bad place with my basketball, I was in a bad place personally with my mental health and I needed to step back and get right, focus on me again and I did that.
— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) February 27, 2018
“And I’ve came back to basketball and had a really fun season back playing in Melbourne… over your winter and our summer back home.
“So I found my love for basketball again and I can’t wait to be playing basketball again and I can’t wait to be back in the WNBA with an amazing group of girls and a great coaching staff so I’m really excited.”
From the fresh-faced 19-year-old Olympian who first stepped foot in the WNBA with the Tulsa Shock, the evolution and growth of her game will be the biggest difference WNBA fans will notice.
Her all-round credentials – taking shots outside while still attacking the rim – honed in China, with the Opals and most recently with the Boomers will surprise anyone who hasn’t seen her play in a while.
“I got drafted when I was 19 years old and I think when I first came to the league I was really looking for a team where I could grow and learn and develop, but I really got thrown into the deep end as a franchise player and a lot of pressure on myself,” Cambage said. “I really struggled with that and I think going to China – I spent three seasons in China – and being at home with the Australian team a lot I found a lot of confidence in myself and my game as well.
“I think it’s really important for all players to have an inside-out game and I had one game in Rio and I kind of went a bit crazy in the fourth quarter against Japan, but I get white line fever – it’s a really out of body experience- I was going coast to coast and using my outside game to get us back into the game.
“I think that’s something I can bring – I’m not just another post-player who is inside; I like to play outside and coach is going to hate this but I like to go coast to coast and open up the lanes for the guards.”
— WNBA (@WNBA) February 26, 2018
Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams was thrilled to get Cambage to return to the WNBA and thought the opportunities she brings to the team are amazing.
“Liz means a lot to our organisation – she’s always been part of our family,” Williams said. “She’s been away for a while, but on her return, to see her come back these last few years and really work on her game to a different and higher height has been great.
“She’s one of the premier centres in the world – for our organisation this is huge as we’ve always wanted an inside presence for this organisation and for this team and we feel with Liz she’ll be able to help us get to that next level.
“The next level is to bring a championship to this organisation here in the future.
She’s really, really shown a lot of growth on the basketball court but also off the floor.
“To see that in a player but also as a person, that’s the type of player you want to have in this organisation and for long-term.
“This is definitely a player I’m happy to coach on the floor and to bring around the team mates that will be coming back and I’m looking forward to a great season.”
Cambage will make her Wings WNBA debut on 18 May.
Feature image: Dallas Wings/Twitter