It was a week of highs and lows for the Aussies in the WNBA, particularly for Liz Cambage, who helped lead her team to two wins but was ejected from the team's win over Los Angeles. Elsewhere, Leilani Mitchell stepped up in a big way in Diana Taurasi's absence even as Phoenix struggled as a team without their star.
The Australian pairing of Liz Cambage and Cayla George and their Dallas Wings teammates faced Phoenix and their own Aussies, Steph Talbot and Leilani Mitchell, in their opening game of the week.
When Mercury star Diana Taurasi came out of the game just four minutes in citing illness, the Wings took full advantage, rolling to a dominant 101-72 victory.
Cambage may have not won her personal battle with Brittney Griner, but still managed to tally 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in just 24 minutes on court.
George was perfect from the field, shooting 3 from 3 on her way to 7 points and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
For the Mercury, Leilani Mitchell was exemplary in running the offence to finish with 8 assists alongside her 7 points, whilst Steph Talbot tallied 2 points and 2 rebounds in her 15 minutes on court.
The Wings kept rolling with a 92-77 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks in their second game of the week, but it wasn’t all good news as Cambage was ejected late in the second quarter after delivering some choice words to the officials.
Prior to that, the Opals star had enjoyed quite an outing, racking up an impressive 12 points and 6 assists in her 14 minutes on court.
George was called upon to fill some of Cambage’s minutes in the second half, and the Wings’ second Australian took full advantage, tallying 12 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes, shooting 6 of 7 in the process.
The Wings finished their week against the high-flying Seattle Storm, and despite keeping the game close throughout, were unable to stop a dominant Breanna Stewart, who continued to press her MVP claims with 35 points and 10 rebounds as the Storm ran out 91-84 victors.
At the other end, Cambage was again efficient, shooting 10 of 15 from the field to finish with 23 points but only 4 rebounds, whilst George came off the bench to contribute 3 points and 4 rebounds in 7 minutes of action.
Cambage also received a technical foul, seemingly for being loud as the centre screamed at nobody in particular after a basket, a call that was widely panned on social media by experts and fans alike.
Sami Whitcomb came off the bench for Seattle, finishing scoreless on four shots but tallying 3 assists in her 8 minutes of action.
That was an absurd technical foul called on Liz Cambage. No reason to call that.— Mechelle Voepel (@MechelleV) July 15, 2018
After leaving the game early in the loss to Dallas, Diana Taurasi returned for Phoenix’s second game of the week, but the Mercury were unable to secure the bounce-back victory against Connecticut, falling 91-87 after the Sun held off the Phoenix side’s late charge in the fourth quarter as the margin dwindled from ten early in the fourth quarter to two in the final minute.
With Taurasi back in the lineup, Mitchell’s opportunities were more limited in this game, with the Opals point guard finished scoreless with two assists in her ten minutes on court, whilst Talbot spent the entire game on the bench, with coach Sandy Brondello opting not to use the South Australian.
The Mercury were able to stop their skid as they travelled to the struggling Indiana Fever for their final game of the week.
Despite allowing their opponents to completely erase a 13-point deficit and take a 48-46 lead into halftime, the Mercury rallied to dominate the second half and secure a 101-82 victory.
Mitchell added 6 points and 3 assists in 13 minutes off the bench, whilst Talbot saw minimal action, playing just two minutes and finishing scoreless in the process.
LEI!— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) July 15, 2018
After knocking off Dallas earlier in the week, Sami Whitcomb and Seattle hosted the Los Angeles Sparks later in the week.
Despite leading 60-50 with a quarter to play, Seattle gave up that 10-point advantage as the Sparks forced overtime before securing a 77-75 overtime win despite Seattle grabbing two offensive rebounds on their final possession to have three scoring opportunities in the final ten seconds.
Whitcomb again had a brief cameo off the bench, tallying four points in her five minutes of playing time.
Playing time remained tough to come by for Rebecca Allen, with New York Liberty coach Katie Smith seemingly set on running a maximum of ten deep.
The Australian wing played a grand total of 1.8 seconds in the team’s thrilling 79-76 win over Connecticut as Smith brought on a lineup of shooters for the final play, culminating in a Shavonte Zellous three with less than half a second remaining to snatch victory when overtime looked all but certain.
Allen was afforded four minutes of action in the Liberty’s blowout 107-84 victory over Chicago later in the week, but meaningful minutes unfortunately remain hard to come by.
... and in a stunning end to the week, Liz Cambage broke the WNBA single game scoring record with an historic 53 points against New York Liberty. What an effort.