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Thriller Mills' wish for basketball
Guy Hand
21:24 AEST Mon Aug 6 2012

Belinda Snell, Liz Cambage, Patty Mills.

Australia's basketballers continue to pile up some of the great moments of the London Olympics.

The question is whether the Australia's sporting public's delight in their highlight reel thrillers will extend to supporting basketball beyond the London Games.

No other Australian sport so far at these Games has offered more selling points to fans, with Boomers and Opals teams who have combined extraordinary examples of individual flair with heart and grit.

Their London Games campaigns have provided Snell's amazing beyond half-court buzzer-beater, Cambage joining the few women to have dunked a basketball in top-flight competition and Mills' 39 points against Great Britain in an extraordinary second-half team fightback.

On Monday, Mills added another "no way" moment - a three-pointer with 0.4s remaining to give the Boomers victory over highly-ranked Russia.

Amidst that basketball showtime, the Boomers and Opals have both qualified for the Games quarter-finals.

Mills hopes the Olympic highlights will encourage Australia to embrace top-flight basketball as much as they did in its early 1990s heyday.

While the WNBL remains a solidly supported competition with rusted-on fans and the Opals' best players often taking part, the NBL remains plagued with teams dropping in and out and perception issues.

And a lack of regular international series at home, despite excellent ticket sales when the Boomers and Opals do play, is also something new Basketball Australia boss Kristina Keneally needs to address as she looks to build on the sport's Games efforts.

"Stuff that happens on this stage is going to be huge for what happens (for basketball) back home, and we hope it's getting a following at the moment," Mills said.

"There is a little bit of pressure to perform on this stage so we can get the following that Australian basketball once had back in the days of Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal.

"I definitely hope it picks up. It would be great for us. It would be great for everyone."

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Opening Ceremony
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Table Tennis
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Closing ceremony
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