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Liz Cambage will not play for Australia national team again, Olympic captain believes

Liz Cambage

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Naho Miyoshi #8 and Ramu Tokashiki #10 of Japan defend Elizabeth Cambage #8 of Australia during a Women’s Preliminary Group B match on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Youth Arena on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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Australian Olympic team captain Jenna O’Hea said she does not think star Liz Cambage will play for the national team again, 10 months after Cambage announced a withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics one week before the Opening Ceremony.

O’Hea, who retired in March, also asserted on the Australia ABC program “Offsiders” that Cambage told Nigerian players in a pre-Olympic scrimmage, “Go back to your third-world country.” Three days after that scrimmage, Cambage said she was withdrawing from the Olympics, citing mental health, panic attacks and the “terrifying” prospect of entering a bubble environment.

Three days after Cambage withdrew, Basketball Australia announced she was part of an unspecified investigation “for a breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct.”

Then in November, the federation announced that Cambage was formally reprimanded for conduct in the Nigeria scrimmage, without elaborating on the nature of the incident nor the reprimand.

In December, Cambage posted on social media that she had zero interest in playing for the national team, the day before a preliminary 24-player roster pool was named for September’s FIBA World Cup in Sydney. Cambage was not in that pool.

Cambage, a 30-year-old with a Nigerian father, recently told ABC of the national team, nicknamed the Opals, “I’m living my best life. I’m supported. I’m protected on a level that the Opals or the Australian team never gave to me. My heart lies with those who want to protect me and those who want me to be the best I can be, and I never felt that in the Opals at all.”

After O’Hea’s comments aired last weekend, Cambage tweeted, “The truth will always come to light, and it ain’t even dawn yet.”

Without Cambage, Australia went 1-3 at the Tokyo Olympics and lost in the quarterfinals to the U.S. It marked the team’s worst Olympic performance since its debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Cambage earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and led the tournament in points per game in 2016. She is a four-time WNBA All-Star now playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

Australia was once the top challenger to the U.S., taking silver at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and winning the world title in 2006.

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