By: Jeffrey Newholm
Many of life’s best moments are completely scripted. Each Mad Max car explosion, while appealing to the eyes, was carefully choreographed. A student’s “A ha!” moment comes as a product of hours of preparation from the teacher. But it seems truly magical moments come unannounced. While a Yankees sweep in 1927 was predictable, Babe Ruth calling his shot was quick thinking. The Patriots didn’t plan on being down 28-3 in the Super Bowl, and couldn’t have anticipated winning in overtime. So, too, was Liz Cambage’s shattering of the WNBA scoring mark a basketball bolt. The Dallas Wings center rose over-afternoon from league newcomer and curiosity to thief of a league’s attention span.
The horrible Tulsa Shock drafted the Australian prospect in 2011, but she played most of her career in her home country. Cambage returned to the WNBA this season with the same franchise, now relocated in Dallas. She averages an impressive 21 points and nine rebounds while making all 22 starts, but better-known competition hogged headlines. Even now the Wings’ website lists her origin as “unknown/Australia”, indicating that only orange-bleeding hoops fans were familiar with the name. Tuesday the Wings , fighting for playoff seeding, welcomed the struggling New York Liberty to Dallas. After shooting an unthinkable 15 of 16 from the line, and 17 of 22 from the field, Cambage scratched Riquna Williams from the record plaque with 53 points:
With just 40 excellent minutes, Cambage proved how quickly monotony can turn to beauty. If a forgotten player most known for t’s and post bruises can change history, plainly any journeywoman can obtain greatness. A lame cliché about female greats is that “well behaved women seldom make history”. But Cambage and Phoenix’s Brittney Griner prove that short tempers can produce great accomplishments. It’s easy to anticipate a great playoff conclusion to the league’s most competitive and popular season. But the wheel steering the WNBA to the next harbor of success, as Cambage demonstrates, sometimes will be seized by an unlikely, but still worthy, captain.