British Wheelchair Basketball’s Women returned to Worcester to take part in this year’s Continental Clash. Scheduled to face Germany, Canada, France and Netherlands the competition was sure to give a fair reflection of the team’s standing heading into the Rio Paralympics.
Competitive from the first tip, GB tested Germany in their opening fixture falling just short (51-61) before picking up wins against Canada (56-49) and France (62-37). The Dutch team proved too strong (47-65) in GB’s final pool fixture. With a record of 2-2, GB just missed out on the chance to play for Gold – finishing 3rd ahead of Canada in 4th. The two sides would meeting once more to play for bronze.
Knowing the 2014 World Champions would be out for revenge, GB kept their composure early to take a slender lead into the 2nd quarter (16-15). Continuing to go blow-for-blow, the hosts were able to maintain their single point advantage over Canada into the half time break (31-30). It was more of the same in the third stanza, as both sides battled to grasp the game’s momentum. With 10 minutes to go the scores were level (46-46). A bronze medal in sight, GB were able to create some separation to earn a four point cushion. Canada were forced to foul, putting Conroy and Freeman on the line several times down the stretch. The pair calmly put away their shots to ensure GB took the bronze (62-56).
Helen Freeman led GB in scoring with 27 points and dished out a game-high 12 assists. Laurie Williams and Amy Conroy also added 7 points each for the home team. Canada’s Janet McLachlan put up a magnificent 29 points and 20 rebounds.
The result will no doubt give GB tremendous confidence ahead of Rio, safe in the knowledge they can test the world’s best nations and execute down the stretch with a medal on the line.
|Mon 1st August||GER||54||v||63||CAN|
|Tues 2nd August||CAN||72||v||45||FRA|
|Weds 3rd August||FRA||37||v||62||GBR|
|Thurs 4th August||GBR||62||v||56||CAN|