GB Women completed their EuroBasket Women preparation in Fuenlabrada last night as they suffered a narrow defeat to World number two ranked Spain.
Despite the defeat, GB will take great confidence from the game in which they went toe to toe with the Olympic silver medallists. The two teams will meet again in Riga later this week as EuroBasket women tips off in Latvia.
It was an electric start to the game for Britain, quickly embarking on a ten-point streak which saw the visitors take a crowd-silencing 13-2 lead early in the first.
Spain then recorded nine points without return before a jump shot from Stef Collins reignited the British offense, and back-to-back threes from Collins and Samuelson open up the advantage again.
Three-point shooting was GB’s key to success in the first, shooting 71.8% from outside the arc.
The home side began to show their quality in the second. Marta Xargay led the way with eight points for the hosts who netted 26 points throughout.
Karlie Samuelson sank another from downtown, her fourth of the evening, whilst Jo Leedham-Warner notched 12 points as the half ended 39-39.
The third quarter was all about defense and both sides showed their quality with just the three points recorded in the first five minutes of Q3. GB’s defense limited the hosts to just six points in the quarter, with Temi Fagbenle, Chantelle Handy and Jo Leedham-Warner all contributing to seven defensive rebounds.
In the latter stages, GB again began to find ways through Spain to the basket, with Temi Fagbenle recording five of GB’s eight points before Janice Monakana ended the scoring with a three-pointer from the wing.
The fourth was action packed with the lead exchanging hands several times. Karlie Samuelson netted another six points, including a fifth three-pointer, as she ended the game with 21 points.
Jo-Leedham Warner showed exceptional composure to bucket two for two from the free throw as the Spanish crowd got fully behind their team.
Anna Cruz and Laura Nicholls both led the late charge for Spain, both recorded six points in the fourth. Nicholls ended the game with a team-high nine rebounds and seven assists.
In the final Spain found themselves on the free-throw line and, despite only sinking one of the shots, it was enough to secure the win as GB couldn’t quite find the response to force OT.
Talking after the game, Head Coach Chema Buceta was focussed on the performance more so than the final score:
“I think we played a good game but our main concern was to learn from this game, whatever the result was, in order to be ready for EuroBasket which is really our target. It was good to play against such a good team.”
The squad will now fly to Riga with just three more days until the start of FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019.