Time out was the right call
AUSTRALIAN basketball star Liz Cambage concedes she needed a break from the sport after last year’s Olympic Games.
Following the Opals’ early exit to Serbia in the quarter-finals at Rio, the 204cm centre did not play a competitive game for more than 12 months, taking time to freshen up ahead of what looms as the biggest year of her career in 2018.
The Achilles tendon injury she suffered in 2014 was still causing concerns and while many professional athletes might have found it difficult to step away from their chosen endeavour, Cambage has no doubt it was the right call.
“I just really needed to his reset mentally and physically,” Cambage said.
“I was at the point where I could hardly walk and just getting up for shooting was agony with my Achilles.
“But my Achilles is feeling stronger than ever and I’m still getting my touch back — I’m still a little bit rusty — but each game I’m getting better and better and that year off really helped.”
Last night the 26-year-old played a starring role for her new WNBL side the Mel- bourne Boomers, running amok at both ends of the court and finishing with 25 points and 14 rebounds (10 in defence) from just 21 minutes of game time.
Ever the perfectionist, there were moments of frustration that started to creep in on court, which is natural given she is still getting her touch and feel back after her extended leave of absence.
But Cambage says while she will always be her harshest critic, her new teammates had made transitioning back to competitive basketball an enjoyable experience as she prepares for a whirlwind 12 months.
“I get so mad at myself, I have little fits of Tourette’s with myself when I miss an easy lay-up or do something silly but I have always been hard on myself,” she said.
“But it’s good fun, the girls are all so lovely and it’s such a great group. Everyone gets along, everyone comes to training and works hard so it’s a really nice vibe from the top of the pyramid down.
“Next year is massive, I’m looking to play Commonwealth Games and go back to the WNBA and there are the World Championships, then I’ll probably head overseas again and try to make some money in Europe or China.”