Ezi Magbegor and Liz Cambage met on the WNBA court for the first time since new details of Cambage’s fallout with the Opals emerged.
Liz Cambage and former Opals teammate Ezi Magbegor had the chance to settle their differences on the WNBA court over the weekend and it was the young gun Magbegor who had the better of the mouth-watering match-up early.
The clash between Magbegor’s Seattle Storm and Cambage’s Los Angeles Sparks was the first time they’d met on the floor since new details of Cambage’s fallout with the Opals came to light.
Cambage’s decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics a week out from the opening ceremony coincided with reports of behavioural concerns during a practice match with Nigeria.
Speaking on Offsiders earlier this month, Former Opals captain Jenna O’Hea confirmed Cambage had told players on the rival side to “go back to (their) third world country”.
Magbegor is of Nigerian descent and is understood to have been hurt by the comment.
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Cambage was inactive for the sides’ clash in the pre-season so the two Aussie centres hadn’t squared off on the WNBA court this year until Saturday (AEDT). Magbegor dominated her more experienced rival early.
By the midpoint of the first quarter, the 22-year-old had blocked Cambage twice as the Storm opened up an 11-point lead.
Magbegor continues to form a lethal partnership with power forward Breanna Stewart, who ticked the scoreboard over (28 points) while the Aussie cleaned up under the ring; by the end of the night, Magbegor had recorded a game-high 11 rebounds and also finished with more blocks than any other player on the floor (three).
She came agonisingly close to recording her first double-double of the season, ending up with nine points to her name.
After shaking off the slow start, Cambage finished with 25 points of her own but her prolific individual showing wasn’t enough to prevent a three-point Seattle win.
The Sparks have now lost four games in a row and face the conference-leading Las Vegas Aces for their next assignment.
Magbegor and Cambage’s match-up came on the same weekend that another Opal, Cayla George, revealed she had “absolutely not” spoken to Cambage about the incident in the game against Nigeria.
George said she took issue with Basketball Australia’s decision not to punish Cambage beyond issuing her with a formal reprimand.
“This is the only thing I’ll say about it, when someone does something and they don’t really have any repercussions for it (it’s unfair),” she told SEN.
“The only repercussions were put on all of us who actually tried to protect and do the most respectful thing … we are the ones that felt the repercussions and not the person that actually did the deed.”
Cambage is unlikely to ever play for the Opals again.