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Basketball - 06. June 2012.

GBR - Maher: ‘Aggression jumped to new level’

LONDON (Olympics) - The aim of every national team in the build-up to the London Games is to peak at the right time.

Now, is most assuredly, not the right time for the Great Britain women to be at their best since their Olympic campaign doesn't tip off until 28 July when coach Tom Maher leads the side against one of his former teams, Australia.

No side likes to lose, though, so there was a sense of urgency for the Brits after they fell in two games at Croatia last week and then lost to Germany in their opening contest at the Tournoi 4 Nations in Belgium.

The team stopped the rot with a win over Ukraine and followed that with a victory over hosts Belgium.

Natalie Stafford, the veteran guard who played so well last summer at the EuroBasket Women in Poland for Britain when they advanced from the initial group stage and then nearly upset eventual champions Russia, led the team with 21 points in a 95-69 drubbing of the Belgians.

"I thought we did a good job defensively," Stafford said.

"We improved our defensive switches and we got quite a few steals in the game leading to us getting some good lay-ups.

"No doubt for us, this was an improvement and a good step forward going to the Olympics."

Maher has said repeatedly that he doesn't care about results right now.

What he wants to see more than anything else is his players have the right mental approach when they’re on the court.

When they are clicking defensively as they did against Ukraine and Belgium, it’s a good sign.

"We're not getting too carried away with the win, we're not at that level to be doing that yet but in these last two games, our positive aggression has jumped to a new level which is great to see," he said.

"We are now showing a new and improved mental toughness which is great and technically, we are still trying to get through things but we have a long way to go and time is on our side."

Great Britain will play Canada, in two friendly games this weekend in Edinburgh.

The Canadians are competing at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Ankara.



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