Updated: Friday, 24th May 2019 @ 11:21am

Team GB's women 'will learn' from USA basketball defeat at Manchester Arena in time for Olympics

Team GB's women 'will learn' from USA basketball defeat at Manchester Arena in time for Olympics

By Barrie White

Great Britain women's basketball star Jo Leedham is backing her teammates to continue to show their strengths as they head towards the Olympic Games.

Leedham scored 21 points, with four rebounds, as Team GB lost 88-63 to reigning world and Olympic champions USA at the Manchester Arena in Manchester on Wednesday.

But the Ellesmere Port-born guard believes the British public saw a team that does not give up and will learn from the experience of playing the best.

"At times, we did play well and we showed our grit, determination and our heart," said Leedham, who plays for Australian side Bulleen Boomers.

"People will see that we are a fighting team, even though we might have been disadvantaged in our athleticism.

"When we come up against teams like USA, we're not just going to back down and we're not scared of teams – I hope the British public see that and they get behind us.

"The crowd was great and I hope that support can continue to the Olympics.

"In our offence, when teams press us, we've just got to handle it better and execute our stuff.

"We have to stay calm and positive with each other, and take every possession one at a time and not worry about what we did before or our mistakes, and look forward."

Leedham was at the heart of all that was good about Great Britain's play - leaving player of the match Maya Moore impressed post-match – but admitted she pays no attention to personal accolades and is concentrating on the team goal.

But the 24-year-old also admitted that she was pleased she was on target – with three three-pointers against America – which she feels allows Great Britain to play a more attacking game.

She said: "I don't really think about that sort of stuff, with the points.

"I'm not too happy with myself defensively, but I'm not too worried about that because it's not about Jo Leedham – it's about Great Britain basketball.

"I'm honestly not too bothered – I'm worried about what we do as a team and how we can improve and the little things I can do to make the team better.

"It's always great when you hit your shots because you've got your drive as well. I think it's about time I start putting my shots in – the weekend was pretty horrible for me with shooting.

"But if you hit threes, you've got your drive and your one-on-ones, so it's always great when your shooting is good."

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