09 Dec 14
EuroBasket Women 2015 promises to be a fascinating battle for the Great Britain senior women as they bid to realise their Olympic 2016 dream.
Despite a game-high 14 points apiece from Jo Leedham and Natalie Stafford, the Canadians delivered a decisive late surge to gain revenge for Saturday's 70-57 defeat by Britain.
Leedham says her side must now look to raise their game when they head to Turkey for a four-team tournament next weekend in the next stop on their Olympic build-up.
"That's not what we're about," said the Cheshire-born forward. "We've showed glimpses of how we need to be and the style we need to play. But not to do it consistently really hurts, especially in Edinburgh where the crowd was really great, it was disappointing."
Ahead 6-0 before Stafford opened GB's account, the visitors went on a 22-4 run with Courtnay Pilypaitis increasing Canada's advantage to as much as 28-6 early in the second quarter.
"We spent a lot of time focussing defensively at our training camp so we are a little bit behind offensively and that shows," admitted Maher. "But until you practice these things enough, you have to expect that and it showed."
But the Australian watched his side show persistence and resolve and they reaped the rewards. UWIC Cardiff guard Stef Collins hit a three-pointer to key a 15-3 burst that eventually sliced the deficit to 32-24 at half-time.
Britain's offense began to click and Standard Life GB MVP of the weekend, Stafford hit a jump shot which brought her side within touching distance at 35-31 midway through the third, with Edinburgh-born guard Rose Anderson chipping in.
Leedham, who added a team-best 5 rebounds, showed the kind of prowess that saw her drafted into the WNBA two years ago as GB tried to make further inroads.
Trailing 45-39 as the fourth began, the home side held Canada to just one field goal in a five-minute spell.
But back to back there-pointers from Pilypaitis - who had a team-best 13 points - gave the guests breathing room and they sealed victory.
"They were really physical," said Leedham. "They gave us a taste of our own medicine after yesterday. We kind of sat there and took it and didn't swing many punches back.
"At the end of the second quarter we put them under pressure and that enabled us to cut the lead. But we made too many mistakes."
GB will travel to Ankara where their next international is on Friday against Korea.
For full box score please click here.