• Cyrus Rogers

Vegas Aces bet on Cambage

Nigerian-Australian Liz Cambage has joined the Las Vegas Aces via trade with the Dallas Wings. President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Bill Laimbeer announced that the team had acquired the two-time All-Star and 2018 league MVP runner up from the Wings.

Cambage, the 6-8 center, led the league in scoring (23.0 ppg) and was second in rebounding (9.7) in 2018. She also finished fourth in the WNBA in field goal percentage (58.9%) and fifth in blocked shots (1.7), while setting the league record for points in a game when she poured in 53 against the New York Liberty on July 17.

In exchange, the Wings receive point guard Moriah Jefferson, forward Isabelle Harrison, and the Aces first and. second round draft picks in 2020.

“The trade has finally happened, and the journey it took to get here will make a great story one day,” Laimbeer said with a smile.

“Everyone in the Aces family is excited to welcome Liz to Las Vegas. She brings an attitude and physical presence that we need. There is no doubt about her physical ability, but what we respect most about her is her basketball IQ. That is what we are about.

“We had to give up some quality players and people to make this trade happen. I didn’t know Isabelle Harrison prior to this year’s training camp, and my first opportunity to coach her was a pleasure. She wants to learn, and I expect she will be a solid professional basketball player for many years to come. Moriah helped us launch our franchise last year, and the Aces appreciate all she did for us in connecting with our fans. Wings fans will love her.

Cambage entered the WNBA at the age of 20 when the Tulsa Shock made her the second overall pick of the 2011 WNBA Draft. As a rookie, she averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds while playing 20.0 minutes per game, earning a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, as well as the WNBA All-Rookie Team.

The Australian native whose father is Nigerian sat out the 2012 season to train with her national team and participate in that year’s Olympic Games. Cambage helped the Opals to the bronze medal, averaging 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds while connecting on 59.5 percent of her field goal attempts.

She returned to the W in 2013, and averaged 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Shock, while connecting on 56.1 percent of her shots from the field.

At the 2016 Olympic Games, Cambage averaged 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while connecting on 58 percent of her shots from the field.

Last season, she returned to the WNBA after a four-year absence, helping the Wings (formerly the Tulsa Shock) to the playoffs. Despite a 22-point, 12-rebound, six-assist effort from Cambage, the Wings fell to the Phoenix Mercury.

Her scoring average in 2018 was the seventh highest in the 22-year history of the league. She also developed a three-point shot a year ago, connecting on 32.4 percent of her opportunities on 37 attempts. Cambage also connects at a 76.4 percent clip from the free throw line during her WNBA career.

Cambage, who turns 28 on August 18, has also played professionally in her native Australia, and in China. The WNBA season starts on the 24th of May and the Aces face the Los Angeles Sparks to start their season on the 26th.

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