The Opals have arrived in Tokyo confident they can rise above adversity to become the first team to snap Team USA's stranglehold on Olympic Games gold in 29 years.
Australian players and staff have been sworn to secrecy regarding Liz Cambage's messy exit from camp days out from the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.
Cambage is being investigated for a breach of Basketball Australia's "integrity framework and code of conduct" during a training scrimmage against Nigeria.
The 29-year-old cited her mental health and concern about life in the Olympic bubble when withdrawing from the Games days out from the Opals' flight to Tokyo.
The absence of the Opals' biggest star was supposed to be a fatal blow to their search for an elusive gold medal, which begins against Belgium at the Saitama Super Arena on Tuesday night.
But Australia rallied to beat Team USA in an exhibition in the wake of her departure.
Now they ride a wave of confidence into the athlete's village, as they look to become the first team other than Team USA to win women's basketball gold since a Unified Team won in 1992.
"It's all settled down and we've been able to focus on the games and practice," Opals assistant coach Paul Goriss said.
"It's a good confidence boost with limited preparation to beat [Team USA], but we know they're only going to get better. We've got a lot of room for improvement to go too.
"It's more so just a confidence boost going into the Olympics that we've played them, because they're a perennial gold medallist.
"To play them and beat them in their own country and then head over, it has obviously helped us in the way we want to play. Both teams still have a way to go and both teams will improve during the tournament once we get into the Olympics."
While the Opals are in Tokyo preparing for a gold medal tilt, back home the 2021-22 WNBL season is taking shape.
Basketball Australia is planning for a full home and away season with each club playing 21 games, though alternate scenarios are being drafted should border closures disrupt the competition.
The season is scheduled to tip off on November 6, before the three-game semi-final series is played from March 16-23. The three-game grand final series will be played from March 26 until April 2.
The season will be paused for two weeks in February to allow the Opals to participate in FIBA World Cup qualifiers, which are likely to be played in Europe.
But for now their focus is on a push for gold, with pool games scheduled against Belgium, China and Puerto Rico.
The women's basketball quarter-finals take place on August 4, the semi-finals on August 6, the bronze medal game on August 7, and the gold medal game on August 8 - the final day of the Olympics.
"It was good to get a couple of games in but I don't think we're going to get any once we get to Tokyo, because I think they have cancelled all pre-Olympic games because of COVID outbreaks," Goriss said.
"Everyone is in the same boat. It's been good to get a couple of practice sessions and games to get our chemistry going. We've got five practice sessions in Tokyo before we play our first game against Belgium."
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