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Olympics basketball: Great Britain 61 Russia 67

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Londoner Azania Stewart believes Great Britain are getting closer to an upset in the women’s Olympic basketball competition after pushing Russia hard in a 67-61 defeat today.

Stewart and former Haringey Angels teammate Temi Fagbenle scored four points apiece in a thrilling opening sequence as the Brits built a 12-2 lead.

But the Russians hit back with a 10-point run to level and edged 16-14 ahead at the first break.

Three-point shooting proved the key in the second quarter as the Russians sank six treys to extend their advantage to a dozen points at half-time.

And although the hosts cut the gap in the second half, they could not get it all back as they slipped to a third successive defeat.

Stewart said: “It’s really disappointing as I really wanted that win. It’s tough.

“But right now, we’re not too far off everyone in our pool.

“Nobody is out there but it’s little mistakes that cost you games.

“I wasn’t really thinking (about the 12-2 lead). They’re such a good team and they’ll make runs. It’s who can handle the momentum.

“We got sucked in, they drove and penetrated and hit their threes.”

Natalie Stafford led the British scoring with 18 points, with captain Jo Leedham (14) also contributing double figures.

And Stewart believes there are positives to take into Thursday’s match against France.

“We still have two games, which is a blessing,” she added.

“This is a journey. We’ve got five games and have got to play the French and Brazilians.

“Some sports are one and done, but the last three minutes is where we’re really struggling.

“These teams know how to handle the pressure, it’s the finer details, who doesn’t make the little mistakes.”

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