Liz Cambage could not help but smile as Greg Bibb continued raving about the importance of her introduction to the Dallas Wings.
“Today, indeed, is a very special day as we formally welcome Liz Cambage to the Dallas Wings and North Texas community,” said President and CEO of the WNBA franchise. “Liz, as you know, is one of the best basketball players in the world. She comes to [Dallas] with refined offensive game and most importantly she will provide for us a defensive presence and a rim protector
“We expect great things for our organization in 2018,” Bibb continued. “Having [Cambage] in the fold with our young and talented team will take us to new heights.”
It was seven years ago, before relocating to Dallas that Tulsa chose Cambage with the second overall selection in the 2011 WNBA draft.
Cambage earned All-Rookie Team honors after averaging 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and 0.8 steals in her first season. The first-year All-Star shot 79 percent from the free-throw line and 51 percent from the field.
A two-time Olympian, Cambage earned a bronze medal with Team Australia in 2012. During those games, the center also gained international notoriety for becoming the first woman to dunk in Olympic contest, according to the official team website.
The 2013 season – despite its end result – brought a brief glimpse of what could potentially develop as Cambage joined rising All-Star forward Glory Johnson and future All-Star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith.
Cambage made 20 appearances in 34 games while leading Tulsa in points (16.3 per game), field goal percentage (56 percent per game), defensive rebounds (5.8 per game), free-throw attempts (7.4 per game) and blocks (2.4 per game).
“I feel like I’ll really be able to fit in quite well,” Cambage said. “It’ll be exciting playing the four-five, center/power forward relationship with [Johnson] again. So I’m looking forward to that.”
At 6-foot-8 the Australian center stands among the tallest players in the league.
Cambage was quizzed alongside Bibb and Williams if they felt her height could serve as an advantage. Fellow teammate and All-Star guard Diggins-Smith took an opportunity to field her teammates’ question with a spiraling laugh echoed from the audience.
“Yeah, I think [Cambage’s size] will be a big factor for us, especially on the defensive end,” said head coach Fred Williams. “Last year I thought we suffered a little bit in transition defense, points were scored against us in some situations at halfcourt, you know, getting inside the paint.”
“But with her size and ability to go up and block shots and to intimidate people from taking shots – it’s going to be on the other perimeter players, even more, to not go to the boards as much. But [instead] get more run-outs going down the floor. But yes, she’s going to make a big presence inside this year.”
The Wings tip off their season at 9:00 p.m. on Friday, May 18 against the Mercury from Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.
“Make no mistake about it, it’s been a long journey,” Bibb remarked. ‘But today is not the end of the process. Today is the beginning of a great story.”
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