GB Women enjoy comfortable win over Angola
The Standard Life GB Women continued their Olympic preparation on Friday afternoon in Sheffield with a comfortable 74-57
victory over the AfroBasket champions Angola.
Great Britain led from start to finish as they built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Natalie Stafford led the way, scoring 14 points, with 11 of those coming in the opening 6 minutes as GB raced out to a 15-3 lead.
Stafford was pleased to get the win, but felt GB have more to give: "We had a good start and we came out firing," she said, "but then I think we lost our way a bit and Angola changed their defence.
"Even though we've won, it wasn't pretty and we've got some improvements to make before we play Australia. One improvement we do need to make is to come out with that gritty attitude that we normally do as that's who we are and I don't think we were very consistent today."
It took the Angolans eight minutes before they scored their first field goal of the game and the hosts ended the quarter with a deserved 20-10 lead, with Azania Stewart scoring a buzzer-beating shot.
The second quarter was Jenaya Wade-Fray's time to shine as in just 88 seconds of action she made a great pass for a Jo Leedham lay-up, got a steal and converted two three-point shots.
After Angola had come back into the game, it was Wade-Fray who delivered the final points of the half with a driving lay-up. The 39-28 half-time lead was the closest GB would allow Angola to get in the second half as they ramped up their defensive pressure; at one point keeping Angola scoreless for over 4 minutes.
GB were helped to victory with a lot of strong performances including 13 points for Wade-Fray, 12 for Leedham, while Temi Fagbenle had 8 points and 8 rebounds in limited action.
"It was good and bad," commented Standard Life GB Head Coach Tom Maher. "We were not just playing against Angola to get the win, we're playing to get respectable and do the best we can at the Olympics."
As for the next game against Australia, currently ranked 2nd in the world, Maher says the occasion will be good for their Olympic preparation.
"When you play teams like that, you get a great chance to look at the video and educate yourself. We just want to be able to defend appropriately and if they beat us because they've got more talent, then ok, but if they beat us in another way, that's not ok.
"We just want to make sure that we're really good at the things we are good at."
That game against Australia takes place tomorrow (Saturday) at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena, tip-off at 5pm, part of a GB double-header which will see the Men's team face Portugal at 3pm.