basketball

Great Britain Senior Women beaten by Spain to end Olympic dreams

Great Britain’s Senior Women missed out on a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a 69-79 defeat against Spain ending their chances.

Chema Buceta’s side finish 0-3 in the qualifying tournament in Belgrade with Spain, China and Korea taking the three tickets to Tokyo from the group.

Temi Fagbenle had another strong game for GB with 21 points in the loss, while Jo Leedham-Warner contributed 15 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Chantelle Handy was also in double figures with 14 points and Karlie Samuelson had 13.

Box score.

Alba Torrens scored an easy lay-in straight from the tip in an ominous start, but Fagbenle went to work in the post to get GB underway before Karlie Samuelson’s catch-and-shoot from deep made it 5-2.

Image credit: Mansoor Ahmed

Spain responded with a 12-0 run, reading passing lanes and contesting every shot to frustrate GB as they were forced into a timeout. Improvements came with Leedham-Warner knocking down a three before Chantelle Handy capped a 9-2 spell with back-to-back scores to cut the gap to 18-16 after 10 minutes.

GB were still within a single possession at 22-20, but found points hard to come by as Spain stretched their advantage into double figures, starting with a 7-0 run. Rachael Vanderwal and Karlie Samuelson both netted from downtown on opposite corners, while Leedham-Warner drove to the basket following a steal to cut the gap to just six points in a bright spell in the second.

Spain restored the double-digit cushion to take a 30-40 lead into the half-time break having found 65% success inside the arc compared to going 1 of 8 from outside.

The gap quickly surged to a 17-point differential – the same as which GB trailed prior to their valiant comeback against Korea. However, this was already a much tougher task against the reigning European champions and Spain were relentless in their pursuit of victory.

As has long been the case with this GB team, there was to be a refusal to quit. They kept battling and were soon back within single figures as Fagbenle continued to fight inside before picking up a fourth foul inside the final minute of the third.

Spain’s lead was back up to 11 at 49-60 heading into the final 10 minutes and despite their best efforts, GB were unable to make a significant dent into the deficit. Samuelson’s mid-range jumpshot made it an eight-point game once again with less than two minutes remaining.

It was not to be as GB saw their Olympic dream come to an end as Spain closed out the win, repeating their close success over GB from last summer in EuroBasket action.

Notes

– GB were bidding to become the first team to qualify for an Olympics outright
– GB’s starters were Vanderwal, Samuelson, Leedham-Warner, Green & Fagbenle
– The result handed Olympic tickets to both Spain & Korea
– China beat Korea 100-60 in the earlier game to finish 3-0
– GB are next in action with EBW 2021 qualifiers in November

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