Australian Opals star Liz Cambage’s Olympic campaign is in serious doubt with numerous alleged incidents coming out of the team’s training camp in Las Vegas.
The four-time WNBA All-Star was reportedly involved in a physical altercation which resulted in verbal abuse in the team’s scrimmage match against Nigeria.
It is also being reported that she broke team protocol to go out in Las Vegas, breaking the side’s COVID bubble.
With serious question marks lingering over whether she’ll make it on the plane to Tokyo, former Australian Boomer Chris Anstey was asked if the Opals could still medal without their star player.
“We’d have a better chance (to medal) if she was a part of it, obviously,” Anstey replied on SEN's The Captain's Run.
“At her best, Liz Cambage is one of the best couple of basketball players in the world.
“At her worst, she’s unbearable to be around as a teammate.
“You kind of cross your fingers and hope a little bit with Liz.
“Clearly being in Vegas and being in COVID protocol hasn’t suited her personally.
“It’s disappointing that they can’t stay in the bubble for a short period of time because it really can impact all their teammates, and I suppose us as a basketball public back home.”
ESPN’s Olgun Uluc is reporting that Liz’s teammates are discussing her ‘potential removal’ from the squad just one week out from the games.
The Australian Opals are discussing Liz Cambage’s future with the team for the Tokyo Olympics due to an incident that occurred in a closed-door scrimmage against Nigeria, sources told ESPN.— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) July 15, 2021
The Daily Telegraph’s Matt Logue provided some further details of the situation on SEN’s Dwayne’s World.
“The story has emerged is that the Opals had a scrimmage behind the scenes against Nigeria,” Logue said.
“I don’t know how it’s evolved but it’s got to a point where there’s been an altercation between Liz and another player and then other players and it’s led to a physical altercation.
“There have been some very direct comments that have been made. This has upset a number of Opals teammates, but particularly Ezi (Eziyoda Magbegor) given Ezi has Nigerian background. My understanding is she’s quite disappointed with how things have transpired.
“Also, my understanding is Liz has left the bubble to go out and there are a couple of other instances that have led to this point.
“The background is that there has been some frustration with Liz in the past. Some were disappointed that she didn’t go to the lead-up camp on the Gold Coast and recently when she made some comments around the AOC, some Opals players were disappointed that the comments were made.
“It’s now with the AOC to make the final decision. It’s a wait and see.
“It’s some ways no surprise that it’s come to this.”
He added: “The Opals players have had a meeting and there are some that are saying, ‘enough’s enough, this has got to stop’.
“It will be fascinating to see the next step.”
Logue has since written for NewsCorp: “Opals star Liz Cambage has left the Australian team camp in Las Vegas as she faces multiple allegations, which are currently under investigation.
“NewsCorp can reveal Cambage is no longer in camp and teammates and officials don’t know where she has gone.”
With a squad of just 11 players and no reserves, Cambage’s potential absence could leave the Opals shorthanded as they embark on their Olympics journey.