Both teams entered this Group D match-up in Skopje hungry for their first win, as each side stood with an 0-3 record at the bottom of the group and were hungry for their first taste of European Championship victory.
As the game began, GB’s Esther Little helped her side jump out to a fantastic 9-0 lead, forcing Albania to call the first time-out. Albania then closed the gap towards the end of the period with GB up 15-11 to end the first quarter.
The second quarter began as a low scoring affair thanks to some stellar defense from both sides. However, Albania managed to fight back late, hitting a couple of big 3-pointers to take a 5 point lead which ended the first half with the Albanian’s up 27-22.
Determined to get their hands on that first win, Coach Len Busch’s side came out into the second half fired up as they rallied back in the third quarter to take the lead once again. The Women capitalised on the momentum, extending their advantage into double digits to go up 11 points (43-32) into the final quarter.
GB continued to pile on the pressure in the fourth, with a big 3-pointer from Brahe Opal Ashton coupled with an impressive And-1 drive from Alexandra May Baker helping GB to extended their lead to 15 points. Shortly after, two huge 3-pointers came pouring in from stand-out guard Jade Mbam to help give her side a 20 point lead with 1 minute remaining, by which point, the game was well beyond the reach of the Albanians. GB took a sigh of relief as they finished the game with a score of 67-50 to claim their first European Championship victory in Macedonia.
Despite the win, coach Busch’s side remain out of reach for a spot in the quarter-finals as only the top two teams from Group D will advance to this stage. GB will complete the preliminary stages of their competition tomorrow where they face Luxemburg in the hope of finishing Group D on a high note.
GB’s Top Performers: Esther Little – 14 points, 16 rebounds, 6 steals: Jade Mbam – 15 points, 5 rebounds: Alexandra May Baker – 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks.