London: Dunking Cambage leads Opals past Russia + VIDEO
Liz Cambage performed what is thought to have been the first Olympic dunk in women's basketball history as the Opals beat Russia.
Cambage led the Opals with 17points and 10 rebounds, but it was her massive dunk against the Russians, believed to be the first in women’s Olympic competition, that had the stadium buzzing.
The Opals started strongly and used a 9-0 run to close the first period with a 21-15 lead.
The Russians refused to buckle however and by halftime, the margin was back to a single basket, 32-30. Batkovic had 13 first half points and Cambage nine.
The Opals looked set to streak away from the European champions in the third quarter and when Cambage drove down the middle for her historic dunk with 6:13 remaining to punctuate a 9-0 Australian run, their lead was out to double-digits, 44-33.
Russia steadied however behind some long range marksmanship before Australian three-pointers from Belinda Snell and an uncharacteristically quiet Lauren Jackson late in the period helped the Opals grab a six point edge with one to go, 54-48.
Russia mounted a furious charge at the Opals late in the final period and when naturalised American guard Becky Hammon made a long two with 50 seconds remaining, the Opals lead was down to just two points, 68-66.
Following an Australian time-out, Cambage was fouled by the Russians and calmly slotted both freethrows to stretch the margin to four. Russia had a number of three-point attempts in the closing minute that could have helped them close within a single point but could not connect and the Australians ran out four-point winners.
The Opals now have a day off to prepare for their final pool match against Canada on Sunday night Australian time. Australia could still finish first in Group B with a win over the Canadians and a loss by current pool leaders France to either Great Britain or Russia.
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