Opals deliver golden send-off

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By David McPherson

 

Australia has overcome the sensational ejection of star player Liz Cambage to deliver Opal legend Belinda Snell a gold medal in her final game of international competition.

 

The Opals shone in the final game of the women’s tournament, rolling past England 99-55.

Cambage was given a technical foul during a discussion with a referee, just under a minute after receiving an unsportsmanlike foul, which disqualified her with 6:34 left to play in the first half.

The Opals star had been pivotal up until that point, scoring 10 points in the first quarter without missing a shot.

The ever-dependable Snell steadied the ship with back-to-back threes following the ejection of Cambage, capping off an illustrious 15-year international career that included three Olympic medals, two Commonwealth Games golds and a FIBA world championship.

Snell delivered nine points, four rebounds and three blocked shots in her swansong, putting a full stop on a glittering international career.

“A few weeks before coming away to Comm Games I had a chat to Sandy [Brondello] and I knew my body wouldn’t be able to handle another worlds campaign,” she said.

“I just thought what better way to finish than on home soil and to top it off with a gold medal.

“There’s been a few tears during the last few weeks. I told the girls before the tournament started.”

Cayla George (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Kelsey Griffin (16 points, eight rebounds) were dominant on the boards and around the rim as they picked up any slack the created by the absence of the 203 cm Cambage.

Australia was dominant throughout the entirety of the tournament, never winning by less than 39 points and losing only one quarter of basketball.

Ultimately the tournament was the perfect ending to the career of an all-time Australian legend.

“I’ve been so lucky,” Snell said.

“I’m just so fortunate to be part of such an amazing team. To play something that I’ve loved for so long and have the opportunity to travel the world, playing in Europe for seven years and America for six – it’s been an amazing time and I’m so happy to finish it off here tonight.”

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