Australian basketball star Liz Cambage has ripped into the WNBA about its treatment of players, the pay disparity with men in the NBA and attempts by referees to suppress emotion in games to make them “more ladylike”.
In a wide-ranging interview a day after breaking the WNBA’s scoring record with 53 points in a game for the Dallas Wings, Cambage also joked about her rocky relationship with Andrew Bogut and defended Thon Maker’s role in the recent “sickening” melee involving the Boomers and the Philippines national team.
The 26-year-old and former NBA player Bogut have had an ongoing social media feud, but after her record 53-point game on Tuesday he sent out a congratulatory tweet.
“I didn’t see that, but thank you Mr Bogut,” Cambage, when told about the tweet, said. “He’s softening up to me these days.”
To the dumb dumbs out there tweeting me re Cambage:Just because Cambage and I disagree and have had some fun back and forths, doesn’t mean I am cheering for her to do poorly.She made history, and hope she continues to break records and fly the flag for 🇦🇺’s abroad.💪 #onyaCambo
— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) July 18, 2018
Maker was criticised for kicking out at Filipino players, but Cambage said “Thon was just trying to protect his teammates” and praised assistant coach Luc Longley for saving Boomer Chris Goulding.
“Chris Goulding could have died if Luc Longley didn’t come out and get those people off the top of him,” she said.
In a WNBA-organised conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Cambage criticised the way they are forced to play back-to-back games in different US cities while flying in economy class planes.
“The WNBA is constantly called the best league in the world, yet we don’t get treated like the best athletes in the world,” she said.
“We sign $1-million contracts in Asia and Russia and get treated like royalty but when we are here in America we are flying in the back of the plane in economy, playing back-to-backs.”
The average WNBA player earns around $US71,000 ($A96 000) a season and elite players $US114,000 ($154 000).
Cambage, a 203cm tall centre named an All-Star on Tuesday, is the WNBA’s second top scorer averaging 21.4 points per game and has Dallas in fourth place.
Cambage accused referees of trying to “suppress” WNBA games by hitting players with technical fouls for showing emotion, including flexing after making a big play.
“We are women and we are passionate and we are playing hard,” said Cambage.
“Let us play our game and try not to soften it because it is making it boring and right now it makes me feel like they are trying to make it more ladylike.
“That’s not how we play. We play like fierce women. Stop trying to suppress our game.”