Record-setting week showcases all Liz Cambage brings to WNBA


It has been a historic week for Wings center Liz Cambage, who followed up a 53-point performance Tuesday with 35 points Thursday. The first was a WNBA single-game scoring record, and the combination was the highest two-game total in league history.
Add in a combined 17 rebounds, and you're talking about a three-day stretch in which Cambage boosted her profile considerably. She was already having an All-Star caliber season -- she was picked to Candace Parker's team Thursday -- but these performances were a showcase for all that Cambage can bring to the Wings.
Both resulted in victories: 104-87 over New York and 90-81 over Washington. Dallas has won seven of its last eight games, and is one of three teams at 14-9, along with Los Angeles and Atlanta. The Dream are the hottest team in the league right now, having won six in a row, as this "Who knows what will happen?" WNBA season barrels along.
Seattle is in first place at 17-6. After an 85-82 loss to Las Vegas on Thursday, Phoenix has lost four of its last five and is 15-9 overall, just a half-game ahead of the Wings, Sparks and Dream.
In other words, a chance at one of the coveted top-two spots -- which means an automatic bye into the semifinals -- is still in play for Dallas. And what a big opportunity that would be for a franchise that has had a long playoff-victory dry spell.
It has been nine years -- and two cities ago -- since the franchise won a postseason game. That was in its final season in Detroit, when, as the Shock, they lost a 2-1 series in the Eastern Conference finals to Indiana. The Shock moved to Tulsa in 2010, and didn't make the playoffs until their last season there, in 2015. They lost in the Western Conference semifinals to Phoenix, 2-0.
In 2016, the franchise moved to Dallas and became the Wings, and missed the postseason that year. They made it last season, but lost in a single-elimination first-round game to Washington.
It's way too early to start thinking about playoff placement, of course. Even so, it has to feel good for Dallas to be this deep in the season and have so much to potentially look forward to.
The Wings have 11 games left, four of them against teams that currently have losing records. The Wings and the Sun (12-11) could have a lot to do with each other's playoff position, as they still have three meetings left, two of them at Dallas.
Much, obviously, is going to rest on Cambage's shoulders. What she displayed this week, without a doubt, was an ability to take on a very heavy load and excel.
Elizabeth Cambage had 35 points and 17 rebounds, breaking the WNBA's two-game scoring record, and the Dallas Wings beat the Washington Mystics 90-81 on Thursday night.
Liz Cambage scored 53 points Tuesday to set the WNBA's single-game scoring record and help the Wings defeat the Liberty 104-87.
Liz Cambage is back and better than ever. Natasha Howard has transformed into a Storm starter. There has been no lack of feel-good stories in the WNBA.
It's Cambage's third year in the WNBA, and first since a 2013 season that ended early because of an ankle injury. Cambage's game continued to grow in her time overseas, and now we're seeing it flourish in the WNBA.
At 6-foot-8, she makes her presence felt on both ends of the court. Save Phoenix with 6-9 Brittney Griner and Minnesota with 6-6 Sylvia Fowles -- both fellow All-Stars -- teams really struggle personnel-wise to deal with the sheer size and strength of Cambage. And it's not easy for the Mercury or Lynx, either.
She is averaging 22.0 points, second only to Breanna Stewart's 22.9, and 9.5 rebounds. The Wings also have another All-Star in guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who talked in a teleconference Wednesday about how well the two of them have worked together this season. They previously were teammates in Tulsa in 2013, Diggins-Smith's rookie year, but have both expanded their games since then.
"Experience is on our side; we have a lot of years of basketball under our belt," Diggins-Smith said. "We had this conversation before the season started, about what some of our goals were.
"She's one of the easiest players to play with. She attracts two and three defenders, and she's made it lot easier for me to play my game. She opens up a lot, drawing so much attention."
Cambage will continue to do that; she even has a 3-point shot that torments opponents.
"I really need to be versatile," said Cambage, showing she's not going to rely on her bread-and-butter in the paint. "Post players need to have an outside game, and that's something I've always worked on. The more I'm working on it, the more confident I'm getting with it."