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Sunday December 4th, 2022 4:29PM

Australia's Liz Cambage leaves WNBA 'for the time being'

By The Associated Press
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Liz Cambage announced on social media Monday that she decided to step away from the WNBA “for the time being,” addressing for the first time her contract divorce from the Los Angeles Sparks last month.

“While I’ll miss rocking the purple and gold, I’ll be taking this time to focus on my healing and personal growth before providing clarification on past rumors,” the four-time All-Star said in an Instagram post. “Thank you to all my supporters, family and friends for all the love and light you continue to surround me with."

The Sparks were in the hunt for a playoff spot when Cambage left the team on July 26. The team lost eight of their final nine games and finished out of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Los Angeles had traded away its first-round pick for the 2023 draft, meaning it won't benefit from missing the playoffs.

Internationally, Cambage had competed for Australia, helping the team win a bronze medal in 2012. But she withdrew from playing with the Opals shortly before the Tokyo Games last summer, citing her mental health. A few days before that, Cambage had been accused of using a racial slur towards a Nigerian national team player in a closed scrimmage. Cambage denied those allegations.

Cambage averaged 13 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Sparks in 25 games this season after signing as a free agent in the offseason.

“Playing for the Sparks was a dream come true and I’m honored to have shared the court with such amazing ladies for as long as we did,” Cambage said. “I’m sorry to have left abruptly and I wish it would have ended on a different note.... I’m hopeful that the WNBA will do their part in creating safer environments and a stronger support system for their players.”

Cambage was drafted by the Tulsa franchise in 2011 with the No. 2 pick.

She has been vocal about her mental health for a long time, sitting out six years before coming back and asking to be traded from Tulsa, which by then had moved to Dallas. Cambage played in Las Vegas for two seasons before becoming a free agent and choosing Los Angeles.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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