Once again it was Liz Cambage leading the way among the Aussies in the WNBA during a stacked week of games.
However, Leilani Mitchell showed her class in a solid performance off the bench for Phoenix against Rebecca Allen and New York.
Liz Cambage battled away through a tough week to produce three solid performances, even as Dallas could only grab a single win in three games.
Despite copping an errant finger to the eye from Candace Parker and being forced to sit for a stint midway through the game against the Los Angeles Sparks, Cambage notched an impressive 25 points and 14 rebounds as the Opals star continued to press her All-Star case even in the face of an 87-83 loss, whilst Cayla George added 3 points in 6 minutes off the bench.
Cambage then came up against rookie sensation A’ja Wilson as the Wings faced Las Vegas in their second game of the week. Wilson may have come within 2 assists of a triple-double, but it was the Wings who secured the 97-91 in a blockbuster of a game that required the Wings to finish the game on a 10-2 run to secure victory.
Cambage tallied yet another double-double, tallying 17 points and 11 rebounds, whilst George added a solid 7 points in 13 minutes off the bench, points that proved valuable as Dallas’ bench registered 30 points to Las Vegas’ 17.
The Wings then faced Minnesota in their final game of the week, with Cambage copping another errant knock to the head, with this one forcing the Opals star out of the game in the second quarter.
Up to that point, Cambage had tallied a remarkable 14 points and 5 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play, and although Dallas enjoyed a 22-16 third quarter, they couldn’t hold off the improving Lynx, who came away with a 76-72 victory.
Cambage is also not a certain starter for the Wings’ game tomorrow against Chicago, but is listed as probable after taking a second knock to the eye.
Injury Update: After sustaining an eye injury in last nights game, @ecambage is listed as probable for tomorrow's matchup against the Chicago Sky. All test results came back negative.— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) July 2, 2018
Phoenix commenced the week against Rebecca Allen and New York, with Leilani Mitchell exhibiting her three-point shooting ability in 23 minutes off the bench.
The Opals point guard knocked down 3 of 5 from beyond the arc to finish with 9 points as the Mercury eased their way to an 83-69 victory after building a 19-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Steph Talbot was afforded just a minute of playing time, whilst for the Liberty, Allen saw just three minutes off the bench, with both players finishing scoreless.
Phoenix then travelled to Indiana to face a Fever team still looking for its second win as the season approaches the midpoint.
The Mercury were in no mood to be generous though, leading by over 30 at one point in the third quarter before the Fever cut the final margin to 95-77.
Mitchell tallied five points and five assists in 21 minutes, whilst Talbot enjoyed an extended run of 18 minutes, connecting on 3 of 5 shots from the field to finish with 7 points.
LEI 👌— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) June 30, 2018
We're all about the 3's tonight. pic.twitter.com/Ta0uoHlgZe
The Mercury finished their week against Washington, and whilst the final score read 84-74 in Phoenix’s favour, the game was far closer as a Natasha Cloud lay-up with a minute to play had the Mystics within three points before Yvonne Turner and Diana Taurasi came up clutch in the final seconds with vital points.
Mitchell saw just 9 minutes off the bench, tallying 3 points, whilst Talbot did not feature. There was bad news for Phoenix following this game, with scans revealing that star forward Sancho Lyttle had torn her ACL.
This could potentially open up more minutes for Talbot depending on how coach Sandy Brondello intends to spread Lyttle’s playing time, but it would be the most gut-wrenching way for a player to see increased playing time.
Seattle travelled to Minnesota to face the rapidly improving Lynx, and despite a solid enough performance, were unable to keep pace with the home side as Minnesota secured a 91-79 victory.
Shooting guard Sami Whitcomb did very little actual shooting, attempting just one three-point shot in her 7 minutes to finish scoreless with one rebound.
The Storm then hosted their rivals and league powerhouse Los Angeles Sparks in their second game of the week, and the Storm took advantage of 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike’s absence, securing an 81-72 victory, although Whitcomb once again saw only 7 minutes, finishing scoreless for the second game in succession.
Whitcomb finally registered a tally in the points column in Seattle’s 84-70 victory over a Connecticut Sun side that appears to be slipping in the face of player absences, including Sami Whitcomb’s former Perth Lynx teammate Courtney Williams, who missed the game due to personal reasons.
Seattle were rarely troubled, holding a 12-point halftime lead and a 20-point advantage heading into the final quarter before rounding out the win, with Whitcomb hitting 1 of 4 from the field to finish with 2 points and 3 steals in her 6 minutes of playing time.
Having fallen to Phoenix earlier in the week, Rebecca Allen and the New York Liberty faced Chicago at home looking to stay in touch with the playoff spots.
Unfortunately, despite coming within a single basket of tying or taking the lead on several occasions in the fourth quarter, the Liberty fell in a high-scoring 103-99 battle that saw the Sky shoot a highly impressive 56% from the field.
Allen did not feature in coach Katie Smith’s plans for this game, finishing with a DNP against her name.
The Liberty would have their revenge just a couple of days later on Chicago’s home floor, but it would take five extra minutes to get it done.
New York trailed by six with six minutes to play, but finished the stronger of the two sides to force overtime, before Tina Charles’ jumper with 16 seconds to play handed the visitors a late 95-94 lead, with Shavonte Zellous adding a pair of free throws with 0.8 seconds to play, leaving Chicago star Allie Quigley to attempt the buzzer-beating three.
But the shot was off target, and New York were left to celebrate their fifth win of the season. Unfortunately, Allen was again unused as the Opals wing featured in just one of the team’s three games this week.