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Basketball - 28. August 2014.

Opals star Cambage relishing Turkish return ticket

Liz Cambage (AUS) - 2012 London Olympic Games

ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship for Women) - Having recently stepped out in Istanbul for the Zafer Cup with Australia, Opals star Liz Cambage can't wait for a return ticket when the FIBA World Championship for Women begins next month.

The 23-year-old, who arrived on the global stage during 2010 when she debuted at the FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic, opted not to play in the WNBA this year and her focus on plotting out a podium finish this time around is evident.

"I don't think there's a greater honour than representing your country and every opportunity I get to be my best, to do my best, to wear the green and gold - then I will take that," she said.

"A lot of people got upset when I didn't go back to the WNBA. That's my salary over there, but I'd rather stay home and work hard and represent my country.

"We did pretty badly at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women and came in fifth.

"We're getting better and we're learning from that. My goal is to just medal - the top three would be good.

"I've heard that Turkish basketball fans are crazy, so I'm excited for the Worlds to get here, to meet them and to play in front of them.

"I know it's going to be a crazy tournament - it's going to be good fun!"

On the subject of having fun, it was noticeable that during the Zafer Cup, Cambage was looking relaxed and enjoying the experience of her first time on Turish soil.

She was even witnessed practicing a few dance moves during the warm-ups.

"It's hard when there's good music playing," she said with an accompanying laugh.

"As soon as it's game time though, it's game time - it's time to focus.

"I think that during your warm-up you can't be too serious, you have to be loose and relaxed.

"You've got to be relaxed in warm ups, and then when game-time comes you switch it up."

Undoubtedly one of the biggest box-office attractions in women's basketball, Cambage isn't looking forward to matching up against anyone in particular at the FIBA World Championship for Women - instead, simply focusing on her team continuing to prepare well.

"I take it game-by-game, day-by-day.

"It's going to be a hard tournament. You've just got to focus on the moments as they come.

"Right now we're just working hard and we're using every game as a learning tool.

"We're getting better every day and closer to where we want to be."

Cambage and her colleagues lost to Turkey and Canada in the Zafer Cup last weekend, either side of a win against Brazil.

They will return to Istanbul to play in Group C against Belarus, Cuba and Korea.


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