With Capital guard Rose Anderson contributing a spirited 14 minutes, Great Britain women were by no means disgraced in going down 88-63 to the hugely talented Olympic basketball champions USA in a warm-up game in Manchester last night.
GB startled their distinguished visitors with the ferocity of their defence in the opening quarter and raced into a shock 21-10 lead and, though the USA then strung a 21-0 run together, GB had their lead back to just seven points, 54-47 near the end of the third quarter.
USA then brought on five substitutes who proceeded to re-exert control but GB can take heart from what was their last outing before the Olympic tournament starts a week on Saturday although the men take on the Americans tonight in a televised match, also in the MEN arena.
Anderson scored just one point, from the free throw line, but also took five rebounds and gave one assist.
Jo Leedham, GB’s top scorer with 21 points, commented: “Their athleticism is crazy but we have to do the little things, the grit, the aggression that allows us to compete with teams like that.”
Meanwhile, The GB Under-20 men’s side may have blown their chance of making further progress in their Euro B tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria after losing 67-64 to Finland yesterday.
Ex-Falkirk Fury power forward Ali Fraser had another fine game, finishing top scorer with 21 points and joint top rebounder (with Devon Van Oostrum, who also had 20 points) with nine. But injury victim Lee Reilly (Edinburgh Kings) did not play and may not get a chance as GB must now win their game against the Czech Republic to progress. The Czechs had a 30-point win over Croatia yesterday.
And Scotland’s Under-16 girls had a narrow 54-49 win over Malta in the European C Championship in Gibraltar. That followed an opening 57-34 win over Andorra and they play Gibraltar today for a place in the semi-finals.