Liz Cambage produced a rare women’s basketball slam dunk and a pair of clutch free-throws to steer the Opals past unbeaten Russia in a four-point thriller at the Olympics last night.
Cambage was sensational, along with veteran Suzy Batkovic, to guide Australia past the highly-rated Russians 70-66 and back into contention to top Group B, depending on other results.
Cambage finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Batkovic – the Opals’ best player in the tournament so far – 15 as the Opals held on to withstand a last-gasp Russian barrage.
The highlight of a see-sawing game was the rarest of sights in women’s basketball – a huge third quarter slam dunk as 203cm Cambage got airborne for a little showtime to cap a dominant display inside.
Bendigo’s Kristi Harrower had another fine match, finishing with seven points – including a three-pointer – five assists and six rebounds.
Harrower, the oldest player in the Opals team at 37, also spent the most time on the court, clocking 27 minutes.
Russia pegged the margin back to two points with 50 seconds left thanks to Hammon’s basket.
Fittingly it was Victorian Cambage, the 20-year-old rated world basketball’s rising star, who gave the Opals the breathing space required with two clutch free-throws soon after.
The Opals now have three wins and a loss in their four matches to date.