GB skipper calm as women lose Olympic basketball opener
Great Britain basketball skipper Jo Leedham insists her side have learned their lessons and will bounce back accordingly after a hard-fought 74-58 defeat to Australia in their London 2012 opener.
There was no shame in losing to Australia, silver medallists at the last three consecutive Olympics and second in the world rankings, but for Team GB – making their Games debut – it was an encouraging display but for a lapse in the second quarter.
Only down 16-11 after the first period, it was not until under five minutes to go until the half-time interval that Team GB scored again, by which time the lead had ballooned to 31-11 and the home side never really recovered.
Leedham, who plays her club basketball in Australia, finished with 11 points and six rebounds for Team GB and admitted afterwards that this had been an ideal chance for her side to get used to the London 2012 atmosphere.
“There was not much pressure on us so it was a pretty good first game for us and we came through it well,” she said.
“We had a good first quarter but let it slip in the second and they punished us, they’re a good team and good teams do that so we have to learn from that.
“It’s good to get Australia out of the way first, we got our feet wet, we battled hard and were physical. We definitely frustrated them at times, which is very encouraging.
“I was really surprised and happy to see all the people getting behind us, the stadium was full up and the atmosphere was amazing.
“You have to try and block it out though when you get on the court, we try and treat it like any other game and get on with what you need to do.”
Next up for Team GB are the Canadians in what should, on paper at the very least, be an easier encounter than the Australians.
To maintain a realistic hope of making the knockout stages Team GB, who are 49th in the FIBA rankings, will need to win that game, a fact not lost on Leedham.
“Canada next up is a good game for us to have, it’s kind of do or die in that we have to win but we are definitely ready,” she added.
“Everyone played really well and that’s so encouraging that a lot of people are contributing, we are team orientated and this is about a team not one person.”