GB Women narrowly miss out on win
The Great Britain Women put up a courageous performance on Monday night, but lost to Canada 73-65
at the Olympic Basketball Arena.
Despite shooting the ball well from the free-throw line, only missing one shot from 11 attempts, as well as scoring ten more points than their opponents in the paint (30-20), the GB women were disappointed with missed scoring and rebound opportunities in the last minutes of the final period.
After pulling to within 55-53 at the end of the third and leading 59-57 thanks to a steal and resulting open lay-up from Jo Leedham, Great Britain showed tremendous character to stay focused and force Canada into numerous mistakes. But, it unfortunately didn't last as Canada found a way back into the contest and pulled down three consecutive offensive rebounds, ending with a clutch three from Shona Thorburn to seal the win.
"Giving up those three rebounds was a killer, if we could have got that one rebound it might have been a different story," said Natalie Stafford, who led Great Britain with 15 points.
She added: "We were a little bit tired down the stretch, I know I was and we just made some silly errors but it was our defence overall that killed it.."
Leedham joined Stafford on 15 points and admits the better team won on the day: "They beat us fair and square, they played really well. We had chances and we didn't take them and they punished us."
GB head coach Tom Maher echoed Leedham's thoughts: "It was what it was, the better team won," he admitted. "We had our chances but we were not good enough to win."
After an opening two minute scoring drought, Courtnay Pilypaitis opened for Canada with a three which was immediately responded to by Jo Leedham. No doubt though that GB made a much better start than they did against Australia, the passing was sharper and they were more controlled going to the hoop.
GB went on an early 6-0 run, with four of those points coming from foul line, to lead 8-5.
Canada responded quickly to take control, 9-8 but fantastic team play from GB inside, with sublime link-up play from Julie Page and Kim Butler, set up Stafford for the easy lay-up giving Great Britain a 10-9 lead. It wasn't enough to end the quarter in the lead with Canada ending strong to edge it 19-15 after the first period.
GB felt the buzz from the passionate home support with a 7-0 run in the early exchanges of the second, capped by a triple from Leedham which gave GB a 22-21 lead.
Canada retorted with a 6-0 burst of their own to lead 27-22 as GB were a little static on defence allowing for easy shots from their Canadian counterparts. GB trailed 36-32 at the half with a passionate 8,563 crowd urging them on into the second half.
It worked as GB were spirited in the third, but the Canadians seemed to have an answer whenever Tom Maher's side got close.
Leedham buried a three to trim the gap to 46-42 only for it to be cancelled out by a three from Thorburn. GB then found a light as they posted a 6-0 run from there, highlighted by a baseline shot from Kim Butler to narrow the deficit to 49-48.
Like they did in the second, GB finished the third positively with a strong play by Edinburgh-born Rose Anderson to end the quarter with the Brits only trailing 55-53.
Leedham highlighted an 8-2 GB run mid-way through the fourth as they led 61-57 but Canada came back and a bucket from Kim Smith put them up 63-61 and they never relinquished their lead from there.
GB falls to 0-2 in Group B while Canada improves to 1-1.
The Great Britain women next play EuroBasket winners, Russia on Wednesday afternoon.