Liz Cambage has had an interesting run with the Tulsa Shock since she was selected as the No. 2 draft pick in 2011.
After winning only three games in her inaugural season, the 6-foot-8 center decided not to return to the Shock in 2012. A year later, she reversed her decision and was cleared to join the team after suffering a broken wrist while playing in China.
Even though it took her awhile to build her endurance back up last season, she was a force to be reckoned with in the paint and ranked No. 3 in the WNBA with 2.4 blocks per game. And here’s the good news: she’s only getting better.
Perhaps that’s why new Shock head coach Fred Williams is thrilled to work with her. When asked at last week’s news conference which player he was most excited to work with, he said Cambage.
Media Q&A: What player excited you most when looking to coach in Tulsa? “With her height, @ecambage has so much potential, it’s exciting!”
— Tulsa Shock (@TulsaShock) January 23, 2014
Williams has worked with some of the best post players in the league, such as Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson, and knows a thing or two about developing athleticism in the paint. Look at what he was able to do with Atlanta Dream center Erika de Souza. She had an excellent showing in 2013 and averaged 12.9 points and 9.9 rebounds in the regular season.
De Souza was a driving force behind the Dream’s playoff push, and Cambage could be that same factor for the Shock this season.
She already has the length to score over defenders and dribbling skills to be able to bring it down the court and drive in the paint, but she needs to be more consistent. Her emotions also affected her play last season, leading to technical fouls and frustrated shots. If she can learn to control her reactions and improve on her footwork in the paint, she’ll be incredibly hard to defend in 2014.
Watch her highlight reel below. She’s capable of so much more.