Doing her best to hide the bitter disappointment that all the British women’s team must have been feeling, Scotland’s only rep, Rose Anderson, insisted there was still everything to play for after Team GB went down 73-65 to Canada in the second group match of the Olympic basketball tournament at Stratford last night.
Having lost, not unexpectedly, to Australia in their opening game, GB had been looking to open their account in the six team group by beating the Canadians, who had also lost their opening game to Russia.
Now they face an uphill battle to get a win under their belts, let alone finish in the top four to qualify for the quarter-finals, and they will have another tough game against Russia tomorrow.
“It’s very disappointing and I’m a bit sick actually, especially when it’s a team you know you can beat, but we’ve got to move on,” insisted the former Edinburgh Kool Kat, whose father and mother were part of the near-capacity 10,000 crowd.
“They hit their shots and we didn’t but it’s done now and there’s no point in dwelling on it,” added Anderson, who looked much more assured than in her first game and contributed six points and an assist in just under six minutes court time.
“In the first game I was a wee bit nervous but I felt good tonight,” added the former Portobello High pupil.
Trailing 36-32 at half-time, GB came on strongly in the third quarter before taking the lead 61-57 with six minutes left. But just when it seemed they would move on to control the game captain Jo Leedham threw a wild pass out of bounds and a series of turn-overs followed.
Canada, helped by their experienced NBA pro Kim Smith, seized the initiative and went on a 9-0 run and with just over a minute left they led 70-63 and there was no way back for the British tyros.
Canadian coach Alison McNeill, who has Scottish relatives and visited Meadowbank with her team when they played two challenge games last June, was actually apologetic afterwards.
“I was singing both anthems beforehand,” she said. “The crowd was amazing, easily the biggest we’ve played in front of.”
GB’s Australian coach Tom Maher – though acknowledging that the “better team won, the result was just” – was typically forthright in summing up the GB effort. “We didn’t just shoot and miss we coughed it up.”
He added: “Those girls haven’t been in that situation before – we didn’t have the composure that experience gives you.”
France provided the big shock of yesterday’s games, beating the Australia 74-70 in overtime.