GB ROLLED BY CUBANS DESPITE PAGE BLITZ

Great Britain’s women were defeated 61-54 by Cuba in their second friendly of the summer despite a barrage from Julie Page.

The GB captain hit 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and almost salvaged victory for the hosts despite another ragged shooting display in Guildford (Game Stats).

Tom Maher’s side went 19-70 from field goal range, and again failed to make a single three-point score, as the visitors came from behind in the fourth quarter in an entertaining clash.

“Tonight was close, we lost our nerve a little at the end, we made mistakes,” said Maher. “The most important thing tonight was that we came to play. Cuba are always a good team, they play hard and with great passion and always put on a great show so it’s good to have them here at this tournament.”

It looked so different when GB overturned a 30-26 half-time deficit as Page led the charge in an improved showing from Thursday’s opener against Germany.

Natalie Stafford – who added 10 points – drew her side level midway through the third and then Ros Mason and Chantelle Handy extended the lead to 41-37 with 1:43 left in the period.

Maher’s women pushed 44-39 in front entering the final quarter but Cuba seized the momentum with a 7-0 run. The advantage swung back and forth but the islanders went ahead for good with three minutes remaining.

Page herself was also disappointed with the result, but took heart from the performance.

“After a terrible loss and performance yesterday, although the scoreboard is disappointing, tonight we took a step closer together as a team,” she said.

“Our defence was good, it was really the last two minutes of the game when we let our heads drop and the scoreboard get the better of us. We will walk away from tonight’s game feeling like we did a good job and can feel more confident as a team.”

Suchitel Avila Casanas had 15 points to lead a balanced Cuban offense.

Earlier, the Germans – paced by 20 points from Sarah Austmann – maintained their 100% record at the Standard Life Invitational with a 78-56 win over Latvia. (Stats).

GB meet the Latvians in the tournament’s final game on Saturday.

“They’re a proven international team,” said assistant coach Vanessa Ellis.

Pic: Wooller.com

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