Well, Liz Cambage wasn’t fully fallacious. It has been one of the wildest WNBA summers we’ve ever seen. And there will be a hoop, but it surely is extra prone to be from Cambage’s deejaying than from her efforts to win a WNBA championship.
The Los Angeles Sparks agreed to a “contract divorce” with their prized 2022 free agent signing, severing her ties with the staff and doubtlessly these with the WNBA. Cambage is a singular expertise and in her finest seasons — with the Dallas Wings in 2018 and the Las Vegas Aces in ’19 — she was dominant in the put up.
An amazing rim protector, strong rebounder and an environment friendly finisher who earned 4 All-Star nods in six seasons in addition to one first-team and one second-team All-WNBA choice. She nonetheless holds the report for many factors in a single recreation with 53.
If this is the finish, she’ll be remembered for key efforts on and off the courtroom. She was open about psychological well being at a time when many weren’t and he or she added a degree of petty beef that has helped the league break into sports activities conversations. Most sports activities speak is about debate. And tons of that sports activities speak has come accompanied with the gif of Cambage consuming popcorn on the sideline of the 2021 All-Star recreation in Las Vegas. She is that woman.
But her lasting legacy will be the fixed controversy, outspokenness that bordered on the line of tactless and, most sadly, the ceiling she by no means persistently reached. Her closing recreation in a Sparks uniform is the closing exhibit of that.
Cambage, again in Vegas enjoying the Aces for a fourth time Saturday, complained to teammates all through the contest that she wasn’t getting sufficient put up touches, sources informed Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. Teammates, reportedly used to such antics, began force-feeding her the ball regardless of the play name, sources informed Haynes.
Watching it again, it seems to hit the fan late in the third quarter when Cambage known as for the ball in the put up, regardless of a double-team, and Chennedy Carter tossed it as much as her palms. It resulted in a turnover.
With time operating out that very same quarter, Brittney Sykes flashed a go out to her on the block and it hit off her palms for A’ja Wilson to seize off the floor. (The broadcasters gave her an out that it was “a tricky go [to] catch at your knees.”)
Katie Lou Samuelson fed her in the identical spot early in the fourth, just for her to casually put it on the flooring with Kiah Stokes on her again. Chelsea Gray rushed over to seize it and drive a soar ball.
And Gray did the identical when Cambage acquired the ball on the block later that quarter. Cambage paused, regarded round with Wilson on her and Gray came visiting to take it clear. Cambage fouled and was subbed out for Olivia Nelson-Ododa over the closing 1:31. That is perhaps her closing WNBA play.
Her 6-foot-8 (some say 6-9) peak was all the time her largest benefit, however not like different bigs her measurement she by no means appeared to provide it 100% all of the time. Cambage may very well be sluggish getting again and lazy on boxing out. Her current points with conditioning have been as a result of of one other bout with COVID-19, however that hasn’t all the time been the case.
It’s prescient her closing recreation as a Spark got here towards the Aces, who opted to not carry her again in free company and have flourished this season. Wilson moved over to the heart place and is not solely an MVP candidate, however a Defensive Player of the Year one, too. After their Commissioner’s Cup win, Wilson famous that she was undersized at the 5 however has discovered methods to succeed at it.
“At the finish of the day, no matter place I’m in, I simply be sure that I may be productive in it,” Wilson stated.
You need to marvel given Cambage’s previous exits and reported slights if she feels the identical approach about herself. She has appeared extra interested by her different pursuits of modeling and deejaying than being a top quality teammate to each her WNBA friends and her Australian ones. And it confirmed on the flooring.
Play of the week
Six blocks. Aja Wilson, that is simply unfair.
Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray all had strong circumstances for Commissioner’s Cup MVP. It was the facilitator Gray (19p, 5a, 4r, 1s, 1b) who gained the trophy and additional $5,000 on the $30,000 paycheck for successful. But Wilson’s stat line — which is not official as a result of the recreation does not depend in the standings — is one of one.
The main MVP candidate is the first participant to complete a WNBA recreation with at the very least 17 factors, 17 rebounds, six blocks, two assists and two steals, through Across the Timeline. That was her actual line.
It was a season-best in blocks, eclipsing the 5 every she had towards the Dream and Storm in May. Wilson has had 4 video games of 4 blocks and leads the league with 59 (his 2.1 bpg path Ezi Magbegor’s 2.2). It’s clear why she’s not solely in the MVP dialog, however the Defensive Player of the Year dialog as effectively.
What you may need missed
Games (and a sequence) of the weekend
All of these video games are going to matter. There are solely 12 groups with 36 video games every and the race for nearly the whole lot is tight. The Sky (21-7), Aces (20-8) and Sun (20-9) have clinched spots.
The first recreation to keep watch over will come for Friday evening Chicago Sky vs. New York Liberty. The Liberty have to climb again into the top-eight spot and are coming off a vital win towards the Sky every week in the past. Back in mid-June, the Liberty misplaced by a bucket when Courtney Vandersloot hit a late three over their slacking protection.
Vandersloot is again after being in concussion protocol and the Sky, who misplaced the Commissioner’s Cup, do not wish to lose two in a row. Chicago has its personal standings battle to win since its lead over the Las Vegas Aces for the No. 1 seed is just one recreation heading into Thursday evening.
Then there is a back-to-back in the District between the Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics. They are actually tied at 18-11 and combating for the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Mystics misplaced the first assembly, 85-71.
Elena Delle Donne has not performed a back-to-back in any respect this season. The former MVP has performed on someday of relaxation 3 times and it is a powerful stretch arising for Washington. They host the Aces on Tuesday and journey to the Sky for a Friday, Aug. 5 contests. But their closing week of the season consists of the Sparks and Fever.
WNBA weekend schedule
All occasions ET Games on NBA TV are additionally accessible on WNBA League Pass. Here is the full schedule with outcomes. Mrs listed here are the WNBA standings.
Friday: Aces at Fever (7 p.m., NBA TV), Liberty at Sky (8 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
Saturday: Storm at Mystics (12 p.m., ESPN), Wings at Dream (7:30 p.m., NBA TV)
Sunday: Sky at Sun (1 p.m., NBA TV), Mercury at Liberty (2 p.m., CBS Sports Network), Aces at Fever (3 p.m. NBA TV), Storm at Mystics (3 p.m., Amazon Prime), Lynx at Sparks (7 pm, NBA TV)