First Round Picks Cambage and Pedersen Discuss Expectations

It is a new season for the Tulsa Shock, and for several players, 2011 brings also brings a new city, a new team and a completely new experience playing in the WNBA.

The Shock roster currently holds seven rookies, including first-round draft picks center Elizabeth Cambage [@ecambage] and forward Kayla Pedersen [@KaylaPedersen14]. Both ladies have an impressive list of stats and recognition from college and international play in past years. But this season means playing with and against veterans and skilled players and competing at a higher level of intensity and physicality.

Cambage hails from Australia and has spent the last two years playing for the Australian Women’s National Basketball League, where she averaged 22.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a game playing for the Bulleen Boomers. Beyond getting used to the time change and food, Cambage, 19, is adjusting well to life in the U.S. and her new team.

“You train hard and that’s how you get focused,” Cambage said. “I’ve only trained a couple of times with the girls, but they are so lovely and hard-working, and I know it’s going to be a great season.”

Pedersen, a Stanford graduate, was named to the 2011 All-Pac-10 Team and made it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament all four years with the Stanford Cardinal. Nonetheless, the switch from college to pros has been a stretch for the Shock newcomer.

“This game is a lot faster, a lot more physical,” Pedersen said. “You have to capitalize on every opportunity that you do get, because the game is so much quicker that you will lose that opportunity right away if you don’t.”

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Both ladies admit the transition has been made simple, thanks to their new teammates and friends.

“It’s been a lot easier than I expected,” Pedersen said. “Playing basketball with these girls that are extremely talented means I have to step my game up, and at the same time they have taken me under their wing and been very helpful.”

The rookies are ready to hit the court in the Shock’s upcoming exhibition game against the Seattle Storm, May 29.

“I am just really excited,” Pedersen said. “Whatever happens, happens, as long as we play our hardest. We are all playing to win and that is what we expect. So we are all excited to just start playing some games. Seattle has got championship players on that team, and for that to be our first game, I think, will really set the tone for our season.”

Intimidation is not an option for these ladies. As they prepare for the season, they are taking it one game at a time and giving it all they have got.

“I don’t try to put expectations on things,” Cambage [@ecambage] said. “I just go in with an open mind. I’m ready take on anything; get some wins, play hard and make it to the finals.”

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They may be new to the league, but these rookies are finishing out training camp strong and ready to make some noise during the 2011 season.

“Our fans can expect some great basketball to be played,” Pedersen [@KaylaPedersen14] said. “We are working our hardest and surprising a lot of people We are going bring all of our excitement and all of our enthusiasm, and we are going to need our fans support to do it all.”

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