Cambage's dunk spearheads Opals' win

Dunk, and the Opals are no longer disorderly.

A rare and remarkable Liz Cambage slam-dunk has helped put Australia right back in the mix to top their group and dodge the United States until the Olympic women's basketball gold medal match.

Struggling for rhythm during the tournament, the Opals' four-point win over European champions Russia on Friday - in which Cambage inspired her side with a game-high 17 points - was their most impressive so far.

The 70-66 win has set up a remarkable finish to Group B - in which three teams including Australia could be tied on equal win-loss records by the end of Sunday's final preliminary round matches.

But the talking point was Cambage's third quarter slam-dunk - one of only a dozen top-flight dunks ever seen in women's basketball.

It is also believed to be the first time a woman has effected a slam-dunk in Olympic basketball, though world governing body FIBA could not confirm that as fact.

The Opals' match against fourth-placed Canada on Sunday will follow the France-Russia game.

If Russia beat France, Australia will have an opportunity to top the group.

"A four-point loss to France, a four-point win over Russia, there could be a three-way tie for top of the group," Opals coach Carrie Graf said.

"It's going to come down to the results tomorrow. Obviously the Russia-France game is big, and then our focus is we have to take care of Canada."

The prize for both first and third places in the group is dodging gold medal favourites the US until the tournament final.

Second would probably mean meeting the Americans at the semi-final stage.

While the Opals were impressive, they did it with talismanic skipper Lauren Jackson well held and with the team under severe late pressure from a Russian barrage.

Australia's player of the tournament so far, Suzy Batkovic, was brilliant again with 15 points to provide Cambage, who also had 10 rebounds, with plenty of interior help.

The Opals rode a 12-0 run to move as much as 11 points clear in the third term.

But Russian sharpshooters Alena Danilochkina and Becky Hammon were white-hot from the perimeter - their three-pointers keeping Russia in the match throughout.

Russia pegged the margin back to two points with 50 seconds left thanks to Hammon's basket.

Fittingly it was Cambage who gave the Opals the breathing space required with two clutch free-throws soon after.

Russia then put up an array of shots which couldn't find the mark, before Rachel Jarry grabbed the ball in the dying seconds and saw out the clock.

Skipper Irina Osipova led Russia with 15 points and nine rebounds, with Danilochkina with 13 and Hammon with 12 points big contributors.