British Basketball’s golden summer was further extended today as the U18 Women ended their European Championship campaign with a strong 4th place finish. Only just missing out on become the third British team to earn promotion to Division A, after the success of both the Men’s U20 and U18 teams.
The tournament began with a series of impressive victories, GB dispatching Ukraine (80-63), Moldova (148-28) and MKD (81-46), to race out to an early 3-0 record. Ireland proved the team’s only stumbling block in the group phase, the side falling to the hosts (49-63), before victory over Slovak Republic (86-64) ensured a 2nd place group finish and qualification to the quarter-finals.
Building on the momentum gained from the previous round, GB overpowered Romania (55-46) in relatively comfortable fashion to earn a semi-finals berth – the team just 1 win away from promotion to Division A.
A disastrous 3rd quarter, in the semi-final, ended GB’s hopes of a spot in the tournament’s finale: GB outscored 9-17 over the period. Despite GB’s strong 1st half and valiant effort down the stretch, it was Germany who took the contest (55-64).
No time to feel downcast, the squad dusted themselves off and were back on court less than 24-hours later; only Poland stood between a 3rd place finish and Division A status. It was Poland, however, who were fastest off the mark: opening up a 10 point lead (11-21) after the first 10 minutes. A spirited 2nd stanza saw GB cut the deficit to just 4 points, before a late surge had Poland back up by 8 heading into the half (23-31). It proved to be more of the same, after the break, Poland stretching their advance to 18 points with just 10 minutes remaining. Despite their usual grit and determination, the gap proved too big to overcome. Poland took 3rd place and the final Division A qualification spot (50-64).
A bittersweet end to an otherwise fantastic campaign.
Group Phase – Group D
Ukraine 63 v 80 Great Britain; H. WINTERBURN 17p
Great Britain 148 v 28 Moldova; A. HENDERSON 24p
MKD 46 v 81 Great Britain; S. HARRISON 18p
Great Britain 49 v 63 Ireland; J. BLACKBURN 9p
Slovak Republic 64 v 86 Great Britain; H. WINTERBURN 31p
Romania 46 v 55 Great Britain; H. WINTERBURN 21p
Germany 64 v 55 Great Britain; S. HARRISON 16p
3rd place game
Poland 64 v 50 Great Britain; C.ELLMORE 11p