Stafford stars as GB claim scalp of highly-rated Canada
NATALIE STAFFORD starred as Great Britain's basketball women claimed a comprehensive victory over world number 11 opponents Canada in Edinburgh.
STAR SHOW: Jo Leedham was among Great Britain's stars with a 15-point haul in the 70-57 win over Canada in Edinburgh (British Basketball)
Stafford hit a team-high 16 points as Tom Maher's side delivered their most impressive performance of the Olympic build-up campaign, winning 70-57.
“I am delighted, I won’t lie," admitted Maher.
"Our performance was terrific against a team we need to be able to cope with.
"When you look at world rankings, they’re in the mix for the Olympics. These are the kind of teams you want to compete against.”
Young internationals Temi Fagbenle and Dominique Allen both excelled to give Maher plenty to think about as he prepares to finalise his London 2012 squad while regular star performer Jo Leedham contributed 15 points and six rebounds.
Canada, paced by 19 points from ex-WNBA forward Kim Smith, used an 8-2 flurry to come within three but their revival ended there and, in the final minutes, the hosts went clear as ten consecutive free throws propelled them away.
"That was much much better," said Stafford.
"We came out and had a fantastic start, it was our defence that got it. We knuckled down and communicated well. We switched well and we played more consistently than in the first few games.
“We won, but there is always room for improvement. We got caught up at times when they were running their offense and getting easy baskets. For us, it’s about getting that consistency now.”
© Sportsbeat 2012