Cambage thrilled to play at GC2018
Superstar Liz Cambage did not hesitate when asked to include a Commonwealth Games campaign into what shapes as the busiest basketball year of her career.
Cambage is the biggest name in an Opals squad who will be red-hot favourites to go through the Games tournament undefeated, just as the Australian men and women did the only previous time the sport was on the Commonwealth Games schedule in 2006.
The 202cm-centre's WNBL commitments with the Melbourne Boomers ended in January.
She returns to the WNBA in April after a five-year absence, having signed for the Dallas Wings.
ANNOUNCEMENT | The Boomers and Opals teams to compete at @GC2018 were today revealed by @CommGamesAUS with two players returning from the 2006 Commonwealth Games while the Opals will have two debutants: https://t.co/QCcMCVOS2H #GoBoomers #GoOpals pic.twitter.com/aiCI9AvFRu— Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) March 7, 2018
Then there's the World Cup in Spain in September, where a full-strength Opals lineup will be among the title favourites.
And Cambage, 26, is keen to end the year playing in one of the big European club leagues.
"It's a very full-on year, especially for someone who has had a bit of a break from basketball, but it's very exciting," Cambage said on Wednesday at the announcement of the Australian squads for the Gold Coast Games.
"I've never played a WNBA season in a major international competition year.
"In the past we've always been swayed to stay in Australia and train with the team.
"But having Sandy (Brondello) as our head coach, who's also a head coach in the WNBA, she pushes us to be a part of the WNBA which is very exciting.
"I'll hopefully go into the (World Cup) fitter and with a lot more games under my belt this year.
"I'll just have to stay away from all the BBQ in Dallas."
Belinda Snell, 37, is the only member of the Opals' Commonwealth Games squad who also played in the 2006 tournament.
It's a similar story for the Boomers, with Sydney Kings forward Brad Newley getting the rare chance to win a second Commonwealth gold medal.
"In the gold-medal game in `06 we were actually down at half-time and the coach at the time, Brian Goorjian, his head was red and veins were popping out," recalled Newley.
"We got up in the end but there's definitely some pressure in being the favourites.
"New Zealand have a very strong side this time as well and we don't know much about Canada but they're a very competitive team also."
The Boomers will persist with an all-NBL team similar to the squad that took on the Philippines and Taiwan in Asian Cup qualifiers a fortnight ago.
Be part of basketball history and snap up your Commonwealth Games tickets now with preliminary matches and qualifying finals in Cairns and Townsville still available.
The Australian Basketball team includes: