Great Britain were outscored 40-21 in the 2nd half as they fell to a 52-67 defeat to Austria on Saturday evening. Defeat leaves GB with a game against Norway tomorrow to decide 19th and 20th place as the U18 Women’s European Championships will draw to a close.
“We had a little lead at the half, but in the 2nd half we had difficulty dealing with Austria’s zone defence and full court pressure,” said Head Coach Len Busch. “The girls fought hard, they fought until the end. I was really proud that even when the game was out of reach they continued to play hard and stick together, for that I’m proud.”
The game started relatively slowly with neither team able to find their range during the opening exchanges. Austria were first to get off the mark, connecting on a jumper as GB’s defence held up well in the early going.
From there, both sides gradually grew into the game and with just a few seconds remaining in the quarter, a corner triple from Pollyanna Storie pushed GB into a slender 15-14 lead at the first change.
Both teams continued to look well matched in the 2nd as the sides traded early baskets. That theme remained for much of the quarter, providing an excellent spectacle for the neutral as the game went back and forth with multiple lead changes.
Late baskets from Asha Andrews, Amelia Sandie and Rebecca Adjeiwaah-Dwomoh allowed GB to forge ahead behind a modest 6-0 run, before a final basket from Austria left Coach Busch’s side up 31-27 at the half.
Following the restart, Austria would go on a tear that would break the game open and provide an unlikely final score given the even 1st half. 14 unanswered points helped establish a double digit Austrian lead at 31-41, capping a game changing opening five minutes to the 3rd quarter.
Led by triples from Andrews and Jade Mbam, GB showed spirit to fight back late in the frame but a back-breaking three from Austria’s Antonia Dumancic with just seconds remaining hurt GB and left them trailing at 41-50 going into the last.
Austria refused to let up in the 4th and an early 7-0 streak put the result beyond doubt. To their credit GB continued to fight, but sensing victory Austria refused to slow down. The difference hit the 20-point mark late in the quarter before a flurry of baskets from GB brought an end to the game.
“We’re looking forward to tomorrow, we’re going to go get another win and finish the tournament how we started it. Together, as one team, one group, that has had a positive experience here in Macedonia,” added Coach Busch.
GB’s Top Performers: Pollyanna Storie – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks: Amelia Sandie – 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist: Asha Andrews – 11 points: Jade Mbam – 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist: Esther Little – 2 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists,1 steal, 1 block.
Tomorrow’s game with Norway will tip at 1:15pm UK time as GB look to finish their tournament on a high.
The game will be live on the GB Basketball Facebook page. To visit it, click HERE.