The WNBA’s long been looking for a villain, and now it’s found the perfect one. Aces center Liz Cambage was a problem without a solution for the Washington Mystics in the semifinals, and she let them hear about it. When the WNBA’s best trash-talker poured in 28 points in a big Game 3 blowout win at home to keep her Las Vegas’ Finals hopes alive, she immediately sounded off during postgame.
“I just kept sealing inside,” Cambage, who scored on 12-of-15 shots, said. “They’ve got small fours guarding me. If they can’t handle it, get in the weight room or get out of the post.”
Cambage’s antics stretched past the message for Washington to bulk up, too. The self-proclaimed “cheeky little shit” also raised a toast after teammate Kayla McBride drained a three as the Aces went on a run they wouldn’t look back from.
The Mystics closed out the series in Game 4, but not before Cambage turned in another signature performance. Cambage finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds, keeping her Aces in it most of the night until Washington’s immense talent took over the clutch. Cambage’s season is over, and she feels heartbroken:
"that's the first time i've ever been sad that the season's over"— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) September 25, 2019
"i'm very lucky to be here and hopefully they'll have me back next season because i don't want to be anywhere else"
strong words from liz cambage on the aces, the team she forced a trade to in may pic.twitter.com/TDNxWqz1Md
Let’s remember the good times and toast to a player who helped make the WNBA so much fun this season.
The Mystics clapped back
Washington, owners of the league’s best record and the best offense of all-time, didn’t like what they saw from Cambage, and engaged in some spicy social media beef after the game. This is the fire the WNBA playoffs needs, and Cambage is the master of sparking it.
First, Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and forward Myisha Hines-Allen took a video doing push-ups with the caption “& that was 50. We’ll show you weight room.”
first, myisha hynes-allen and natasha cloud did pushups pic.twitter.com/fcXnYcecF0— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) September 23, 2019
Then Cloud came to the defense of her team’s 6’2 center LaToya Sanders, who’s tasked to defend Cambage each night.
Mystics guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough quote tweeted a video with Cambage’s postgame words and said “lol.”
And then the Mystics team account posted a video of the team ... you guessed it: In the weight room:
Let Cambage’s trash talk continue now and forever
Cambage’s role as the WNBA’s biggest shit-starter is seeing its peak, and she’s getting inside Washington’s heads just as she did Chicago’s. In August, she shared a role with Cheyenne Parker and Allie Quigley in an on-court and social media beef with the Sky. In June, she had “the hair incident” with LA Sparks center Kalani Brown, too.
Now her ways are stretching to the Mystics, and she even has the green-light from her head coach to keep talking. Bill Laimbeer doubled down on the weight room statement, saying, “[Cambage] was correct,” per The Athletics’ Lindsay Gibbs, setting the table for a heated Game 4 with Las Vegas’ season once again on the line. We could only be so blessed to see this riff continue.
For now, the Mystics are playing it cool ... kind of.
“We didn’t hear that the first two games when Emma [Meesseman] had 57 points,” Cloud said before Game 4. “All she said was ‘my shot was going in the basket.’ That’s humility, and that’s who we are. All that trash talk doesn’t really affect us. It just adds fuel to the fire.”
Mystics’ Natasha Cloud fires back at Aces’ Liz Cambage’s “weight room” comments: “We didn’t hear that the first 2 games. When Emma had 57 points in the first 2 games, all she said was ‘my shot’s going in.’ That’s humility. That’s who we are. All that trash talk doesn’t affect us” pic.twitter.com/2qTTAyJ5HT— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 23, 2019
On the defensive end in Game 3, the Aces finally found answers to Meesseman’s back-to-back 27- and 30-point games, and contained MVP Elena Delle Donne. But replicating that is a tall task. Washington hasn’t lost back-to-back games since July, and is the title favorite.
Vegas couldn’t afford anything but dominance from their superstar, Cambage. She gave them her all until the very end.
“We’ve been doing that all year long,” Mystics guard Kristi Toliver, who had a verbal scuffle with Cambage in Game 3, said afterwards. “She wanted to have a little attitude, and threw a little temper tantrum for a little bit, but I think she got over it once a timeout was called and we were able to keep the peace. But I was like ‘Liz, chill out.’
“It’s fun to be chippy. It’s fun to have that edge. That’s what playoffs is.”