GB Women will find themselves facing either France or Belgium on Saturday in the semi-final of the 2019 FIBA Women’s EuroBasket after a 62-59 win over Hungary.
Hungary took an early seven-point lead as GB endured a shaky start but the team recovered well as a three-pointer from Jones ignited a comeback, which saw the deficit cut before Cheridene Green gave GB the lead for the first time with the last basket of the quarter. 13-15.
GB’s defence was the story of Q2 as they limited Hungary to just four points for most of the second. Jo Leedham-Warner was inspired form, with eight rebounds (seven of which were defensive) to her name at the half. The Hungarians scored a few late baskets to take their quarter tally to nine but GB, led by Temi Fagbenle, shot 17 points themselves to establish a ten-point advantage.
Both teams went basket for basket for most of the third as the ten-point advantage for GB was maintained at the end of Q3. Hungary started the stronger before Jones halted their streak, but Hungary quickly replied with a three-pointer. Samuelson added two to which Hungary again replied with a basket of their own. Hungary sank a three and shots from the free throw as they went on a six-point streak, but Temi Fagbenle halted that and replied with a five-point streak of her own. 38 – 48 after three.
With 10 minutes to save their EuroBasket campaign, Hungary started the fourth quickly, quickly reducing the gap to six. Hungary continued to claw away at the deficit but GB found the basket enough times to hold them off. With the gap narrowed to just one point, Karlie Samuelson shot two for two on the free throw line in the dying seconds. Hungary were left with no choice but to try a half-court shot to force OT, which bounced away off the rim to confirm GB’s victory. 62-59.
After the game, Jo Leedham-Warner was full of praise for the team:
“Just, wow. I’m just so proud of this team. We came here expecting to do something but I don’t know if I can honestly say I expected us to be in the semi-finals. From the start we were trying to get to the quarter-finals but this team is just so special.”
GB will now face France at 5pm BST on Saturday after they overcame Belgium in Overtime to secure their place in the semi-final.