Boom! Cambage fires to force WNBL decider
LIZ Cambage was out on her feet with six minutes to go what could have been the finale of her immediate WNBL career.
Her Melbourne Boomers had clawed their way back from a 14-point deficit after a three quarter rampage from league MVP Suzy Batkovic who pushed the Townsville Fire to within 10 minutes of grand final glory.
Cambage, second in MVP voting and a target, like Batkovic, for double and triple team efforts in defence, had just 11 points to her rival's 21 before she sat for a few minutes to fuel her final campaign.
Three minutes passed, and the Boomers fell behind by five points before Cambage got back on the court.
She then willed herself into the cut and thrust of a torrid contest, scored eight points, all her team's points, in a back-and-forth final foray in which the Boomers came out on top.
Just a single point split the teams on buzzer, it was 58-57, and the Boomers had made history by taking the fledging WNBL grand final series to a third game for the first time.
Cambage finished with 19 points, but more importantly a massive smile knowing her team had the right stuff to come from so far down on the back of not playing "scared".
Australia's greatest ever female basketballer, Lauren Jackson, threw herself at Cambage in a full frontal hug that was a significant pointer to just how epic the last quarter effort was.
"You just have to chip away, when you put yourself in a corner like that you just have to chip away. We did it," Cambage said of the come-from-behind win.
"I think we have played scared for six quarters now, that first game in Townsville and our first half tonight. We weren't playing aggressive and we weren't playing our game.
"We went in at half time and said we needed to get it together and we went out and did it. If we can carry that to Townsville we can get it done."
Batkovic may have got the better numbers in the battle royale between the league's two best players but it was the MVP's last minute turnover, on the back of just two final quarter points, which gave the Boomers time to take the final lead.
"We were batting down there, both Suzy and I were getting double and triple teamed, but it's a hustle, it's a grind," Cambage said.
"These two games have probably been the biggest grind of the season, but that's why we are both in the grand final."
As for her own final few minutes Cambage threw to a famous football phrase. She didn't think, she just did.
"When I play I am not really thinking I am just doing what needs to be done," she said.
Cambage and the Boomers now need to win one more game, in Townsville on Saturday night.