June 19 2013 Latest news:
By Ziad Chaudry
Thursday, July 26, 2012
They may have been outclassed by the might of the Americans in their final warm-up game, but Wood Green’s Azania Stewart believes the GB team will do their nation proud at London 2012.
Stewart and her team-mates started well against the Americans and led 21-10 midway through the first quarter, but they were eventually swept aside 88-63 by the reigning Olympic champions.
Camden-born Stewart, who attended Alexandra Park School in Muswell Hill and began her basketball career with Haringey Angels at the age of 13, scored nine points in the defeat.
And, despite the loss, she felt the whole team performed well against a team packed full of NBA superstars.
“They [USA] are a good team, they are so strong and athletic. We knew we were going to come in for a fight,” said the 23-year-old.
“It was a little bit disappointing that we didn’t get some of the stuff we wanted to do, but it was a great team effort.”
And Stewart, who will play for Spanish professional outfit Deportivo Zamarat next season after spending four years with US Collegiate outfit Florida Gators, is happy with the way GB have been gearing up for the Games.
“Preparations have been going so well,” said the 6ft 4ins centre. “We’ve been training for so long now and having more time together, so that helped build up our team chemistry. Playing the other European teams during the build up to the Olympics has really helped us too.”
Team GB begin their medal quest at the Basketball Arena on Saturday (July 28) against Australia, and Stewart is excited to be playing in her home city.
“For a London girl representing my country in a London Olympics, this is a once in a lifetime thing,” she said. “It’s never going to happen again, especially in my back garden. It’s just a dream come true really, to make my family and friends proud. Wearing my GB uniform is the best thing I’ve put on.
“I reckon we can surprise a few teams in this Olympic tournament, but we’ve just got to take it one game at a time and avoid thinking too far ahead.
“One good advantage is that we’ve played test matches against most of the teams – minus Brazil – so that will help us a lot.”
GB women’s fixtures (Group B):
Saturday July 28 v Australia (10.15pm)
Monday July 30 v Canada (8pm)
Wednesday August 1 v Russia (4.45pm)
Friday August 3 v France (8pm)
Sunday August 5 v Brazil (10.15pm)
Top four teams from the group qualify for the quarter-finals