Liz Cambage Drops 53 Points, Breaking W.N.B.A. Scoring Record
Displaying ruthless efficiency, Liz Cambage of the Dallas Wings broke Williams’s W.N.B.A. single-game scoring record on Tuesday by pouring in 53 points in a win over the Liberty in Arlington, Tex. Cambage, a 26-year-old Australian center who stands 6 feet 8 inches, simply could not be stopped. She made 17 of 22 shots from the field — including 4 of 5 from 3-point range — and 15 of 16 free throws. For good measure she added 10 rebounds and five blocks, and the record-breaking points came on a 3-pointer late in the Wings’ 104-87 victory.
“It’s pretty big,” Cambage told reporters after the game. “I’ve had big numbers in China, I’ve had big numbers in Australia, and I’ve heard a lot of people say I could never have big numbers here in the W.N.B.A. So I guess this game is for y’all.”
That the record was broken by the well-traveled Cambage is not necessarily surprising considering her talent, but it was somewhat unexpected simply because she had been out of the league for the last four years. Originally drafted by the Tulsa Shock with the No. 2 pick in 2011 — one pick after Maya Moore — Cambage played for Tulsa in 2011, skipped the 2012 season because of fatigue after national-team duty, then returned to the Shock for 2013. She spent the next several years overseas before returning for this season.
While Cambage broke Williams’s mark of 51 points, set in 2013, the W.N.B.A.’s scoring record has had very little turnover since the league started in 1997. Cynthia Cooper of the Houston Comets was the first player to score 30 points in a W.N.B.A. game, which she did in July 1997, and then she exceeded her own record in each of her next two games, first with 32 points and then 44. That record held until Katie Smith — now the Liberty coach — topped it with 46 in 2001, while playing with the Minnesota Lynx. Diana Taurasi scored 47 in a triple-overtime game for the Phoenix Mercury in 2006, and Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm matched her record in 2007. And then it was Williams’s turn.
The only other player to score more than 45 points in a W.N.B.A. game was Maya Moore of the Lynx, putting up 48 points in a double-overtime game in 2014.
Cambage’s scoring average is now up to 21.4 points a game, which trails only Breanna Stewart (22.5) of the Seattle Storm for the W.N.B.A. lead.