Great Britain’s women continued their Olympic preparation on Friday afternoon in Sheffield with a comfortable 74-57 victory over Angola.
Tom Maher’s side led from start to finish as they built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Natalie Stafford led the way, scoring 14 points, with 11 of those coming in the opening 6 minutes as GB raced out to a 15-3 lead.
Stafford was pleased to get the win, but felt GB were not playing at their best.
“We had a good start and we came out firing,” she said, “but then I think we lost our way a bit and Angola changed their defence.
“Even though we’ve won, it wasn’t pretty and we’ve got some improvements to make before we play Australia.
“One improvement we do need to make is come out with that gritty attitude that we normally do as that’s who we are and I don’t think we were very consistent today.”
It took the Angolans eight minutes before they scored their first field goal of the game and the hosts ended the quarter with a deserved 20-10 lead, with Azania Stewart scoring a buzzer-beating shot.
The second quarter was Jenaya Wade-Fray’s time to shine as in just 88 seconds of action she made a great pass for a Jo Leedham lay-up, got a steal and converted two three-point shots.
Then, after Angola had come back into the game, it was Wade-Fray, who delivered the final points of the half with a driving lay-up.
The 39-28 half-time lead was the closest GB would allow Angola to get in the second half as they ramped up their defensive pressure; at one point keeping Angola scoreless for over 4 minutes.
GB were helped to victory with a lot of strong performances including 13 points for Wade-Fray, 12 for Jo Leedham, while Temi Fagbenle had 8 points and 8 rebounds in limited action.
Maher’s team now face Australia on Saturday at the Motorpoint Arena (5pm), after their male counterparts take on Portugal (3pm) in their first home outing of the summer.
“When you play teams like that, you get a great chance to look at the video and educate yourself,” said Maher.
“We just want to be able to defend appropriately and if they beat us because they’ve got more talent, then ok, but if they beat us in another way, that’s not ok.
“We just want to make sure that we’re really good at the things we are good at.”
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