London 2012: GB women beaten by US despite good start

By Jessica CreightonOlympic sports reporter at the Manchester Arena

Great Britain's women's basketball team slumped to an 88-63 defeat by USA women despite a spirited performance.

At times six-time Olympic champions the United States found GB's tenacity and defence difficult to break down.

But with a team filled with Women's NBAexternal-link stars, their superior experience shone through at the Manchester Arena.

Jo Leedham led GB's attack with 21 points and four rebounds, while Maya Moore starred for the United States with 18 points.

Great Britain surprised the US with an aggressive opening quarter that saw them go 15-8 up in the opening four minutes.

Forward Julie Page and Leedham helped to extend GB's lead with vital baskets to put the hosts 21-10 ahead.

But as the US began to find their feet, GB turnovers allowed them a 15-point run to end the opener, Moore showing her WNBA credentials as she finished the quarter with a six-point run.

With the US shrugging off their jet-lag, they extended their lead in the second quarter, clocking 22 points compared to Britain's 11.

The Americans capitalised on GB's inability to keep the ball under pressure and went in at half-time 47-32 ahead.

A revitalised British team fought back in the third quarter, only for the US to find another gear and put their athletic superiority to good use.

An eight-point run from Leedham in the closing minutes of the final stanza put GB within 23 points of their American opponents (84-61), but it was not enough to unsettle a well-tuned US outfit.

Britain's head coach Tom Maher, who coached the Australian women's team to bronze and silver Olympic medals in 1996 and 2000, said: "We were overwhelmed.

"It's no surprise that they stepped up the gas. We made some plays early and hit some shots but they started to beat us with possession.

"They're the best players in the world."

Leedham, who spent her season in Australia with Maher's Bulleen Boomers, added: "They were a really good team to play - the kind of team that exposes your weaknesses.

"They're the best in the world, and they're that for a reason. We panicked a bit. Every team we played, they've taught us a lesson and that's what's great about playing these kind of teams."

GB women begin their Olympic campaign against Australia on Saturday 27 July.

Top Stories