Cambage, Mitchell set for Australian preparation

Cambage, Mitchell set for Australian preparation

The Jayco Australian Opals’ preparations for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women received a major boost this week, with star duo Liz Cambage and Leilani Mitchell deciding to forgo their WNBA commitments for the upcoming season.

Coming off another outstanding season in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA), Cambage will stay in Australia where she will work closely with the Jayco Opals coaching staff in preparation for her second World Championship campaign.

The 22-year-old has been part of the past two training camps in Canberra and the Gold Coast, impressing Jayco Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce with her commitment to the program.

For Mitchell, the decision to stay has been inspired by the opportunity to represent the country of her mother’s birth, coming off a remarkable debut WNBL season that saw her earn WNBL All Star Five honours playing at the Dandenong Rangers.

After playing the past six seasons with the New York Liberty, the 28-year-old will reside in Australia for the lead-up to late September’s World Championships – taking part in the Jayco Opals training camps and tours in the month’s leading into the tournament.

For Joyce, the decision made by Cambage and Mitchell to stay in Australia displays their commitment to the Jayco Opals program.

“To have Liz and Leilani here in Australia for the full World Championship preparation is brilliant news for the Jayco Opals program,” Joyce said.

“This shows how much it means to these players to be part of the Jayco Opals and to represent their country on the world stage.

“It is this type of commitment to the program that will be help us maximise the benefit from our preparation and give the team the best chance of succeeding in Turkey.”

Joyce said the passion and quality of Cambage and Mitchell has been evident in their training camps and believes the team will benefit from being able to integrate two quality players into the program for the entire preparation.

“You could see it during our two most recent training camps that being part of the Jayco Opals and playing at the World Championships in Turkey means a lot to Liz,” Joyce said.

“She’s had a great attitude in camp and you can see the other players feeding off her energy.

“Leilani has been a class act from the moment she first came into camp back in January and looks every bit an international quality player.

“Beyond the tour of the USA departing this week, we have training camps and tours scheduled for July, August and September, so to be able to involve these two players in the full preparation will be vital for on-court chemistry.”

Cambage and Mitchell will not be part of the Jayco Opals USA tour, with the recently ratified new WNBA collective bargaining agreement not allowing players with rights held by a WNBA team to participate in games and scrimmages against WNBA teams.