Great Britain’s Women’s team displayed a resilient performance as they started their Tokyo 2020 Paralympic campaign with a 54:73 defeat against three-time Paralympic champions Canada.
Co-captain and assistant coach Maddie Thompson led the points scoring for ParalympicsGB with 11 points as the GB’s Women team played their first game together in 18 months.
Meetings between GB and Canada are always extremely competitive and the Tokyo opener – the fifth time the pair have met at the last five major championships – was no different with the efforts of the GB athletes not truly reflected in the final score line.
Joy Haizelden scored GB’s first points in Tokyo as GB made a confident start to the game, ending the opening quarter with a 14:11 advantage. With both teams pressing, it was a high-energy start with GB having their best scoring run of 10 points in the first quarter as they had success breaking down the Canadian side.
The second quarter was close throughout with both teams seeing their points total ahead on the scoreboard. GB remained in front at the halfway stage, their three-point lead from the opening quarter protected with Amy Conroy, Maddie Thompson, Robyn Love, Charlotte Moore and Helen Freeman all adding points to GB’s total in the second quarter. 29:26 was the half-time score.
Two points each from Love and Moore saw GB extend their lead to seven at the beginning of the second-half as GB started strongly, but then the momentum seemed to switch in favour of their opponents.
Canada’s Kady Dandeneau led the Canadian charge, ending the game with a triple-double, as Canada drew back level halfway through the third quarter. Canada pulled out a 10-point lead heading into the final minute-and-a-half of the quarter, but Jude Hamer and Joy Haizelden both scored important baskets at the end of the quarter to make it a six-point game heading into the final 10 minutes.
Knowing GB needed a strong start to the fourth quarter, co-captain Thompson led by example, scoring two baskets from range to bring GB back to within three points in the opening minute of the restart.
As Canada continued to add to their points total so did GB, but, despite a resilient and battling display from GB, Canada’s lead began to extend further, growing to 19 points by the time the final buzzer sounded.
It was a match of high-energy and high-quality with the opening Preliminary Round game in the balance until Canada began to pull away in the fourth quarter.
Despite the result, it was a gutsy team performance, with all eight athletes representing GB on court contributing with points, including 11 points for Thompson and eight points for both Moore and Laurie Williams.
The Women’s team will be wanting to bounce back with victory tomorrow when they face the hosts Japan at 03:15 (BST).