Great Britain thwarted Canada 67-53 in Manchester on Wednesday.

In their last home tune-up before departing for Women’s EuroBasket, Chema Buceta’s side never trailed and improved to 2-2 in their build-up.

Having named the 12 which will now head to Riga, via Madrid, GB reversed the trend of 24 hours earlier by constructing an early 7-0 advantage that set the tone for the first half.

Karlie Samuelson hit eight of her 16 points in the opening seven minutes as the hosts surged 14-4 in front, forcing the Canadians into poor shots with the towering force of Temi Fagbenle clogging the paint.

Eilidh Simpson, off a terrific campaign in France, peaked the advantage with a three-pointer early in the second before a 13-5 run from the visitors trimmed the deficit to 29-24 at half-time.

Canada, headed to a winless conclusion to their European tour with a below-strength roster as they look towards the FIBA Americup later this summer, were able to remain in touch with offensive forays into the paint, especially with Fagbenle – who ultimately notched ten points and nine rebounds on her 50th international appearance – on the bench. Cheridene Green, impressing in cameos in reserve, will surely need to impose herself defensively if the WNBA centre is to get enough breaks at the Europeans to remain in top gear but the former Tennessee forward looks increasingly comfortable at this level.

A 10-3 spurt which cut GB’s lead to 43-39 at the outset of the fourth period asked tough questions and Ruth Hamblin’s lay-up with 4:45 left that reduced the cushion to a single point demanded further answers. An useful examination with serious business on the horizon.

Pleasing, hence, that eight unanswered points were reeled off without allowing the guests a single shot as Fagbenle built a wall. And the momentum was pinned down, permitting the Brits to take their bow and then pack bags for their vital tour, with Leedham adding 16 points and seven boards.

“Canada are obviously a great team, and it’s the first time the whole squad has been together so these games against Canada give us a lot of confidence,” said Samuelson.

“We know how tough EuroBasket is going to be, so we’ve been looking forward to these warm-up games and we’re getting ready.”

Buceta now takes his side to his homeland to meet Sweden and Spain in their last two preparatory friendlies on Saturday and Sunday.

Hamlin paced Canada with 13 points and five blocks.

Game Stats

Photos: BB

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