Great Britain’s Senior Women opened their second FIBA EuroBasket Women 2019 Qualifying window with a 56-64 win over hosts Portugal.
Karlie Samuelson picked up her first cap for GB and joined Coach Buceta’s starting line-up alongside Temi Fagbenle, Rachael Vanderwal, Stef Collins and Azania Stewart.
The hosts were quickest out of the blocks, racing to a 12-3 lead in the opening five minutes of the game. Chantelle Handy closed out the first quarter in style with a buzzer-beating 4-point play to cut Portugal’s lead to 6 (20-14) at the end of the first quarter.
Handy continued to produce from beyond the arc for GB as the team rallied back to take their first lead of the game (24-27), with 3.40 left in the first half. GB continued to work effectively on both ends of the floor, trailing 31-30 at the end of the first half.
Portugal had the stronger start in the 3rd quarter however GB showed great spirit to keep the game close and with 10 minutes left to play, GB trailed their hosts 52-47.
The 4th quarter followed a similar pattern with Portugal maintaining their narrow lead for large parts of the final period. A late run from GB saw Temi Fagbenle and Stef Collins combine for 6-points, putting the visitors up by 4 with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
GB’s veterans showed their experience, closing the game out and boosting GB’s chances of EuroBasket Women 2019 Qualification. Chantelle Handy led the way for GB with 21 points while WNBA star Temi Fagbenle finished the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
GB will now travel to Tel Aviv where they will face Israel at 6.30pm on Wednesday.
The victory has given his team a good chance of progressing to the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019 Final Round.
Despite a tricky start and falling behind by double-digits, Great Britain dug out the win and now find themselves with a 2-1 record at the halfway point of the qualification process.
Report: GB Basketball
Image: Mansoor Ahmed