WNBL star Cambage accepts one-game ban

Capitals forward Mistie Bass tries to defend against Boomers centre Liz Cambage. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Capitals forward Mistie Bass tries to defend against Boomers centre Liz Cambage. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

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WNBL star Liz Cambage will miss the top-of-the-table clash with Townsville Fire after accepting a one-game suspension on Wednesday.

The two-time Olympian faced a two-game suspension for unduly rough play if she challenged the case after being cited for kneeing Canberra import Mistie Bass during their game last Saturday.

She will stay in Melbourne while her Melbourne Boomers head to Townsville to face the Fire on Thursday night.

Boomers general manager Justin Nelson confirmed the club and player had accepted the penalty and looked forward to returning to the court when the Boomers host Sydney University Flames at the State Basketball Centre on Sunday.

"Liz has a lot of terrific qualities on and off the court, and constantly goes above and beyond to engage with her fans and supporters," Nelson said.

"Liz accepts the finding of the GRP [game review panel] and we look forward to seeing her back in action this Sunday."

"We're also pleased Mistie is OK and was able to play out the game."

???The game was televised on Fox Sports and replays contributed to Cambage's downfall after she appeared to intentionally lift her knee into Bass' hamstring.

A WNBL panel reviewed the incident on Tuesday after the Capitals lodged a complaint as per league rules.

Bass, the daughter of rock and roll legend Chubby Checker, crashed to the ground in pain when Cambage collided with her in their match last weekend.

"The WNBL's game review panel has charged Melbourne Boomers star Elizabeth Cambage with unduly rough play against Canberra Capitals import Mistie Bass in their match up on Saturday," the WNBL said in a statement.

"The incident which occurred in the second quarter of the round [seven] match was seen by the GRP to be intentional, with high impact contact occurring to the body, resulting in a two-game suspension."

Cambage was cleared of a second incident after it was deemed contact with a Capitals player was accidental.

The WNBL has a similar system to the NBL, AFL and NRL where games are reviewed and any penalties offered with an early plea reduction which can either be accepted by the player or challenged at a tribunal under threat of receiving the full penalty.

The early plea also means Cambage will be free to play in the WNBL's showpiece "Cluster Round" at the State Basketball Centre, Wantirna South this Saturday and Sunday which will see all eight WNBL sides play across two games each day.

The Boomers will face reigning champions Sydney Flames on Sunday with Cambage expected to be the main attraction along with WNBA import Asia Taylor from the Flames.

Bass told media in Canberra she still hoped to play in her club's clash with Bendigo Spirit on Saturday but the club won't decide whether to bring her to Melbourne until Thursday.

"Unfortunately right now I'm not allowed to say anything [about the incident] until the WNBL comes out with what they need to come out with. I'd be more than happy to talk about it after that," Bass said.

"... Every day [the injury] is getting a little bit better. It's just a really big bruise. I haven't had one like that before ... it was just the initial shock of it happening and then it felt like a cramp and a really tight pain.

"I couldn't use my leg at that moment but fortunately I was able to get back on the court and when you've got adrenaline helping, you don't feel the pain until later.

"I don't like to sit out any practice let alone games, so I'm pretty positive I'll be back this weekend. I do have to be careful ... my trainer has said if I do too much too early I'll slow down the process."

The Capitals were privately fuming after reviewing her actions in a one-on-one battle with Bass, and the club has lodged the required paperwork with officials in a backwards WNBL judicial process.

Under league guidelines, players and coaches must provide statements and video evidence before the WNBL takes any action against the offending player.

The process has potential to create significant friction between individuals and teams given the WNBL handballs the citing responsibility rather than using an independent system.

Bass and Capitals coach Paul Goriss have both provided statements to the WNBL but are unable to comment publicly about the incident until the tribunal makes a decision on Cambage's potential punishment.

The Capitals will wait until Thursday before deciding if Bass is able to play against the Bendigo Spirit this weekend as they fight to snap a losing streak.

Bass' potential absence would be another massive blow to the Capitals after losing the past nine games in a row. The Capitals are also missing star recruit Rachel Jarry, who has been ruled out for a month to recover from concussion.

If Bass is ruled is ruled out, Goriss will likely be forced to travel to Melbourne with just nine players instead of the usual 10.

"It was a testament to [Bass] the way she wanted to get back out on the court and keep fighting [against the Boomers]," Goriss said.

"I know she wants to be back but it's also about the long term [with Bass]. We still have Rachel out and Bendigo also have Kelsey Griffin out for the season. It's last v second last, but both teams still have a lot to play for.

"We're going into it being respectful of who they have ... I think we just have to keep playing the way we have to give ourselves an opportunity to get a win."

WNBL ROUND EIGHT

Saturday: Canberra Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at State Basketball Centre, Melbourne, 5pm.

This story WNBL star Cambage accepts one-game ban first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.