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Basketball Australia is investigating the circumstances of an incident involving Liz Cambage that happened during a scrimmage with Nigeria.
The organization said it’s looking into the matter for a possible “breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct.”
The incident preceded Cambage’s withdrawal from the national team on July 15 ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Cambage announced on Instagram she was withdrawing because she didn’t feel in the right frame of mind to compete. She said she had “been really worried about heading into a ‘bubble’ Olympics” without a support system outside of the Opals.
The news came after ESPN’s Olgun Uluc reported she had been involved in a physical altercation and a “charged verbal exchange” during the scrimmage against Nigeria.
The ESPN report alleged Cambage also violated the Australian team’s COVID-19 protocols by going out in Las Vegas, where the team was stationed for training camp prior to its trip to Tokyo.
The four-time All-Star addressed the situation through her Instagram account and said she did not violate the safety protocols and was “pretty annoyed at all the fake news and the lies I’m seeing floating around in news articles and being shown and being asked about” (via Chris Young of Yahoo Sport Australia). She also said she had received the green light to attend the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game in Vegas.
Cambage acknowledged that “things got heated in the Nigeria game” and turned physical. However, she said the game was filmed and would thus provide evidence in her defense.
Cambage has been forthcoming about her mental health struggles in the past.
“I’ve battled mental health problems—first, anxiety, and later the depression that anxiety can trigger—on and off for about half my life,” she wrote in a piece for The Players’ Tribune in August 2019.
In speaking about her decision not to compete in the 2020 Olympics, the 29-year-old said she was experiencing panic attacks and “not sleeping and not eating” for the last month.
Cambage was expected to be a key player for Australia as it seeks to improve on a bronze-medal finish in the 2016 Summer Games. She averaged 23.8 points and 10.5 rebounds when the Opals were runners-up to the United States in the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.