Cambage first female to dunk at Olympics

Last updated 10:25 04/08/2012
Liz Cambage
SLAM: Liz Cmabage throws down the first dunk ever pulled off by a female at an Olympic Games.

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It could go down as the slam dunk which ignites Australia's Olympic campaign and confirms Elizabeth Cambage's status as a superstar after the Opals' gold medal hopes got a huge boost.

Giant 203cm Cambage threw down a powerful dunk for the first time in a women's game at the London Olympics.

Few women get enough space to make a charge to the basket to be able to hang from the ring.

And while Cambage wasn't dangling for long, the 20-year-old sent the crowd into raptures as she dunked with her right hand in the third quarter of the Opals' win against Russia.

Cambage has shown her teammates she has the ability to dunk at training sessions but she has never been able to do it in a game.

She didn't hang from the ring and celebrate like the NBA stars, but it was a moment to savour in the Opals' 70-66 victory.

The match was tight in the end as Russia nailed a three-point shot with just 50 seconds remaining to close the gap to two points.

But Cambage sealed the result with two free throws in her best game of the tournament, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

It could prove the spark the Opals need in their Olympic medal bid.

They are still alive in the race to finish at the top of their pool, but they must rely on results to go their way to remain on the opposite side of the draw to the United States.

The win moved the Opals into second place with one preliminary round game remaining.

If Russia beats France and the Opals beat Canada as expected, Australia will clinch top spot.

The Opals were presented with an interesting dilemma before the match. A win would move them to second while a loss would keep them in third place and in a position to avoid the US in the second round of the tournament.

If the US finish at the top of their pool as expected, the second and fourth placed teams from Australia's pool cross over to meet the gold medal favourites.

The first and third place teams stay on the opposite side of the draw.

But losing would have been fraught with danger.

Suzy Batkovic continued her outstanding Olympics, finishing with 13 points just in the first half while Jackson struggled to find her groove.

One of the world's best players finished the first 20 minutes with an uncharacteristic one point from her two shots. Cambage's dunk came halfway through the third quarter.

In a match punctuated by poor attacking moves and turnovers, the path to the basket opened up for the 20-year-old.

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She looked surprised when she found herself up and then took two giant strides to the basket before slamming it down with her right hand.

She must have thought it was a birthday present come early - she turns 21 on August 18 - and she didn't disappoint as her teammates jumped from their seats on the bench and almost spilled on to the court with their excitement.

- FFX Aus

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