August 19, 2020
Liz Cambage signs with WNBL’s Southside Flyers; tracking other WNBA opt-outs
In addition to the Aces center, several more players who opted out of the 2020 WNBA season will play overseas this fall
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Liz Cambage during a Las Vegas Aces game against the Washington Mystics, July 13, 2019 at Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington, DC. (Domenic Allegra)
Liz Cambage will return to Australia’s WNBL after a two-year absence, it was announced Monday. The Las Vegas Aces center, who medically opted out of the 2020 WNBA season, will next play professionally for her home country’s Southside Flyers.
“While the coronavirus interrupted my WNBA career, it has given me the opportunity to play in Australia,” Cambage said. “I have always enjoyed playing in the WNBL, it is one of the best competitions in the world and I hope to see more supporters get behind the Flyers this season.”
Cambage last appeared in the WNBL during the 2017-18 season, when she led the Melbourne Boomers to the Grand Final. Soon after, she made her return to the WNBA after a five-year absence.
Known as the Dandenong Rangers until the 2019-20 season — including when Cambage played for them in 2007 — the Flyers last season ended a two-year streak of missing the playoffs, making it all the way to the Grand Final. The Canberra Capitals, led by 2020 WNBL MVP Kia Nurse, have won the last two WNBL titles.
“I am really looking forward to playing for the Flyers in the WNBL this season,” Cambage said. “I know they had a great first year and I am keen to help the team go one better and win the championship.”
The WNBL announced in June it would not sign any foreign players due to budgetary and travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, several Australian players who spent the 2019-20 season in Europe and Asia, including Cambage, the Seattle Storm’s Sami Whitcomb and the Phoenix Mercury’s Alanna Smith, are coming to the WNBL.
This ruling also offers the opportunity for Basketball Australia to show off more of its domestic stars as the Olympics near. Cambage will join national team captain Jenna O’Hea on the Flyers, and their head coach, Cheryl Chambers, is an Australian Opals assistant coach.
The 2020-21 WNBL season is scheduled to tip off on Nov. 20, a little over a month later than usual, and likely with no fans in attendance for at least the first month. Every team will play 21 games, with the playoffs taking place in March.
Other opt-outs sign overseas
In addition to Cambage, several more players who chose not to play in the 2020 WNBA season have signed contracts, or re-signed, with overseas teams for 2020-21:
Natasha Cloud: Famila Schio (Italy/EuroLeague)
Tiffany Hayes: Avenida (Italy/EuroLeague)
Marine Johannès: Lyon (France/EuroLeague)
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe: Lyon (France/EuroLeague)
Cecilia Zandalasini: Fenerbahçe (Turkey/EuroLeague)
Rebecca Allen: Valencia (Spain/EuroCup)
Temi Fagbenle: Venezia (Italy/EuroCup)
Asia Durr: BLMA (France)
The No. 25 and No. 32 draft picks from this April, Mikayla Pivec and Kiah Gillespie, will get their first pro action with Spain’s Promete and Israel’s Maccabi Raanana, respectively. Both opted not to join the teams that drafted them this season.