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2012 Olympic tune-up: USA vs. Great Britain features international connections from Oregon State to Florida to Australia

Published on July 18, 2012

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SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – July 15: Great Britain captain Jo Leedham, Sheffield, England on July 15, 2012. (Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Mansoor Ahmed Photography).

USA vs. Great Britain, ESPN2/ESPN3, 2:00 p.m. ET 

Just two days after routing Brazil, 99-67, the USA’s senior national women’s team is in Manchester, England to face Great Britain in an exhibition game.

Australian Tom Maher, a former Olympic coach for his native country (1996, 2000) as well as China (2008), is at the helm of Great Britain’s women’s team.

Maher is also the current coach for the WNBL Bulleen Boomers, a team that included Australian national team member Liz Cambage as well as Team GB’s Johannah Leedham last season. The assistant coach of the Boomers is basketball legend Michele Timms, who is also an assistant with the Australian national team.

As the host country for the London Games, Great Britain did not have to qualify for the Olympics. However, they have competed with some of the world’s top teams including Australia and France to prepare for the Games. In last weekend’s Sheffield Tournament, they lost to the Opals, 87-63, but beat France, 74-67.

“We had to play our best game and we did it,” said Maher after beating the French national team.

Many of the players on the Great Britain squad have connections to the United States. Team GB star Kim Butler was actually born in Tacoma, Washington and played in college at Santa Clara before transferring to Oregon State. She was the second leading scorer of the former Pac-10 Conference in her senior year. She also earned a training camp invite to the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks.

Stef Collins played at St. Bonaventure. She made the Atlantic-10 All-Conference team for three seasons.

Leedham was a star at Franklin Pierce, leading her team to a trip to the final of the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship game. She is the DII all-time leading scorer with 3,050 points. She was twice named the WBCA Division II National Player of the Year in 2008 and 2010. She received an invitation to the Connecticut Sun’s training camp.

Azania Stewart was a star center for Florida and graduated this past spring. She helped her team reach the second round of the NCAA tournament knocking off Ohio State, one of the biggest upsets early in the tournament. The Gators went on to face eventual champion Baylor and a monster dunk from Brittney Griner, losing 76-57. Stewart’s performance against Baylor earned her praise from Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey. She is the third Gator women’s basketball player to go to the Olympics following the footsteps of DeLisha-Milton Jones (2000, 2008) and Tammy Jackson (1992).

Other recent and current collegians from U.S. schools on the Great Britain roster include Dominique Allen (Oral Roberts), Rose Anderson (University of Central Oklahoma) and Temi Fagbenle (Harvard).

After the game, Great Britain will move to the Olympic Village where they will get ready for their opening game of London 2012 against Australia on Saturday July, 28. USA Basketball will head to Turkey for a tournament before coming back to England.

Complete Roster

Name P Height DOB Place Of Birth Club
Dominique Allen C 6’4″ 10/09/1989 Wordsley, England Oral Roberts, NCAA I (USA)
Rose Anderson SG 5’10” 23/03/1988 Edinburgh, Scotland, Scotland Central Oklahoma, NCAA II (USA)
Kim Butler PF 6’1″ 07/09/1982 Tacoma, USA Palacio De Congresos De Ibiza,, LFB (ESP)
Stef Collins PG 5’6″ 30/12/1982 Upper Heyford , England UWIC Archers, EBL (WAL)
Temi Fagbenle PF 6’3″ 08/09/1992 London, England Harvard (USA)
Chantelle Handy C 6’3″ 16/06/1987 Consett , England Aris, A1 (GRE)
Jo Leedham SF 5’11” 05/12/1987 Chester , England AZS Gorzow, PLK (POL)
Julie Page PF 6’2″ 21/04/1983 Manchester , England ESB Villeneuve d’Ascq, LFB (FRA)
Natalie Stafford SG 5’9″ 08/12/1976 Sydney , Australia Sydney Flames, WNBL (AUS)
Azania Stewart C 6’5″ 13/03/1989 London , England Florida, NCAA (USA)
Rachael Vanderwal SG 5’9″ 27/06/1983 Burlington , Canada University of Limerick, A1 (IRL)
Jenaya Wade-Fray SG 5’9″ 05/09/1988 Paget , Bermuda
Great Britain's Olympic Roster.

Great Britain’s Olympic Roster.


 

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