Cambage ready to take WNBA by storm
WHEN Liz Cambage makes her long-awaited return to the WNBA this weekend there will be plenty of familiar Aussie faces in the opposition.
Cambage's debut game for the Dallas Wings on Saturday (AEST) in Arizona is against the Phoenix Mercury, a team helmed by Opals coach Sandy Brondello and featuring Australian teammates Leilani Mitchell and Stephanie Talbot.
Another Aussie great and former Cambage Olympic teammate, Penny Taylor, who just welcomed a baby boy with the Mercury's American star Diana Taurasi, is Phoenix's director of player development and performance.
"It's going to be scary," Cambage said.
"Sandy knows me better than any other coach in the league."
Brondello coached the Opals at last month's Commonwealth Games, where Cambage infamously lost her cool with the referees and was ejected in the second quarter of the gold medal game.
Cambage will have her hands full guarding the Mercury's four-time WNBA All-Star and Team USA centre, Brittney Griner, who stands at 206cm.
"I just have to play her straight up," said the 207cm-tall Cambage.
Cambage has had a rocky relationship with the WNBA.
Oklahoma's woeful Tulsa Shock drafted the then 19-year-old in 2011 with the No.2 pick. She reluctantly joined the team, skipped the 2012 season, returned to play 20 games in 2013 and has since avoided the WNBA with stints in China and Australia's WNBL.
The Shock relocated to Dallas last year and one of the team's top priorities was to entice Cambage.
Cambage views Dallas as perfect preparation for Australia's attempt to win the gold medal at September's World Cup in Spain.
"I'm here because I want to better my game, especially heading into world champs," Cambage said.
"I want to go in there as strong as possible."
Cambage is a paleo diet devotee after first trying it four years ago and shedding 25 per cent of her body fat "straight away".
Texas is not known for its healthy food, but Cambage has not been tempted and is sticking to her current favourite, home-cooked roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and balsamic vinegar.
It was a different story when she was a teenager playing with the Bulleen Boomers in the WNBL.
"We were sponsored by the Pancake Parlour and I was in there after every training session having a chocolate thickshake, getting pancakes with ice cream and chocolate sauce, maybe a Cajun chicken salad on the side," she said with a laugh.
"We would smash that. They were the days when I had that 19-year-old metabolism."