GB women's basketball eye Russia upset
July 31, 2012 11:54 am
Great Britain's women's basketball team vowed to bounce back after losing a heartbreaker to Canada on Monday.
The women looked set for a first-ever Olympic victory when a late charge put them 61-57 up midway through the fourth quarter, but a meltdown then followed as Britain squandered chances to build on their lead, with careless turnovers contributing to a 16-4 Canadian surge to the finish.
Coach Tom Maher put the collapse down to a lack of composure and experience in pressure situations, something for which there is no obvious cure during the course of these Games. But his players refused to be counted out despite the wasted opportunity.
"We need to take a positive outlook on this, We have a few games left in the tournament," said Kim Butler, turning her attention to Wednesday's contest with Russia. "We're familiar with Russia and their game. We know what to expect. We're going to make it a battle."
Although Russia are the reigning European champions, Maher suggested they are no longer the team they were last year.
That message was repeated by his players as they talked up the chances of an upset win over a team jointly-ranked second alongside Australia.
"Our talk in the locker room was that it's done now, it's over," said Rose Anderson. "We have to come out swinging against Russia. We've played them. We know we can beat them, and get another two wins."
After Russia, Britain will face France - a top-10 ranked team but also a side they beat in one of their final warm-up games - and FIBA Americas champions Brazil.
A win in any of those games would count as an upset, and last night's loss makes it difficult to see a way for Britain to get through to the next round. However, Jo Leedham refused to be counted out.
"We have two losses and maybe that puts a bit more pressure on us," she said. "It's going to be tougher, but it's a tough group anyway. We will bounce back. We've got three games left and it's three games we can win. We'll learn our lessons and move forward."
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