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The young Aussie upstaging Liz Cambage in LA

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The WNBA pre-season for the LA Sparks was supposed to be about the signing of Liz Cambage. Instead, a little-known Aussie stole the show.

When Liz Cambage fouled out with just four points in her first pre-season game for new team the LA Sparks, fans were left wondering who would step up. Turns out it was another Aussie.

Amy Atwell came off the bench and dominated against the Phoenix Mercury. In just 15 minutes of court time, Atwell steered the Sparks to a 87-84 win, scoring 19 points, hitting six from six three-pointers.

It’s likely her LA outfit didn’t even see this coming, despite having followed Atwell’s journey to the pro’s and recently investing in her with the 27th pick in the WNBA draft.

She’s the granddaughter of WA Football Hall of Famer Mal Atwell, but hasn’t left anything to chance, developing her game at the University of Hawaii under coach Laura Beeman for the past six years.

Atwell2
Former Hawaii star Amy Atwell

Just months after moving to the US from her hometown of Perth, the 23-year-old has also already had to overcome a knee reconstruction.

Atwell has displayed incredible resilience, fighting through other knee injuries and COVID-19 interruptions to continue earning opportunities.

“All I could really do is shoot for a while,” Atwell recently told the ABC about her arrival in the US.

“It forced me to grow up a lot at a very young age.”

Atwell’s numbers over the past five years have been impressive – 534 points in 30 games, averaging 17.8 and 6.9 rebounds, scoring more than 20 points 13 times.

AmyAtwell

Last season, Atwell became the first University of Hawaii player to be named the Big West Conference player of the year. She was the star of their first ever Big West Championship. 

Atwell remains in a battle to make the final Sparks squad and earn WNBA court time, as 20 players on the roster will become 12 before LA’s regular season campaign tips off on May 17 against the Minnesota Lynx.

If Atwell does make the cut, she will be in prestigious company – fewer than 50 Australian women have played in the esteemed American league since its inception in 1996.

Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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