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Opals add slam-dunk to Games showreel
Guy Hand
23:31 AEST Fri Aug 3 2012

First a three-pointer for the ages, now a women's basketball slam-dunk.

The Opals are no Olympic Games certainties, but they will dominate the eventual London 2012 highlights reel.

Superstar-in-waiting Liz Cambage produced a moment destined to be talked about and viewed worldwide as much as Belinda Snell's amazing buzzer-beating three-pointer a few days ago.

Her slam-dunk in Australia's thrilling 70-66 win over Russia on Friday is the rarest of beasts in the women's game.

FIBA officials have so far been unable to confirm whether Cambage's dunk is the first in women's basketball at an Olympic Games.

But it is one of perhaps only a dozen dunks sighted at elite women's level.

Most of those have been in women's college basketball, while former US star Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker are among the few to have slam-dunked in America's top-level WNBA.

It may be the moment which propels Cambage, the 20-year-old 203cm giant who is showing her remarkable potential at the Games after a sluggish start, to the basketball stardom most expect is inevitable.

Asked how long she'd wanted to try dunking in a game, Cambage said: "Ages. Especially back in the Australian league but I never found the opportunity. I found it today so I took it.

"I was up on the ring and I thought 'Jesus, I'm doing it'.

"It's a good feeling. It's my first dunk in a game. I wasn't thinking about it - it just came naturally."

Opals coach Carrie Graf - for whom guiding Cambage, her prodigious talent, and fragile basketball thermostat has become a pet project - was thrilled with the dunk.

It, and Snell's shot from inside her own half, will help silence those critical of the women's game for lacking the athleticism of its men's counterpart.

"It was an inspirational play," Graf said.

"It's wonderful for things like that to happen in women's basketball and if things like that bring more appreciation for the game and more people to see our game, that's a good thing," Graf said.

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