Great Britain completed their FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B with a 45-56 defeat to Romania in Gussing, Austria.
Holly Winterburn – nominated for the all-tournament team – finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
No surprises were offered before tip when for the final game, Head Coach Vanessa Ellis named the starting five as she had all tournament – Winterburn alongside Charlotte Ellmore, Alix Henderson, Shauna Harrison and Loren Christie.
It was Winterburn who produced GB’s first points of the game with a strong drive and hook shot, as GB took an early 4-0 lead. But while Romania took three minutes to get their first points, they soon established control in a 16-4 run, leaving GB trailing 8-16 after quarter one.
GB were without the poise they struck during Saturday night’s win over Greece and Romania had the better execution. It was though a fast game with plenty of turnovers – 61 in all – to raise the ire of any coach.
But while there was pace, Romania still had the edge and only a Winterburn 3, four seconds from the buzzer got GB back to within 10, leaving them a 20-30 deficit to make up.
There were occasional fast break forays for GB in the second half but the margin was annoyingly stubborn to reduce. In fact, with Romania’s superior ball movement and passing, the gap would grow leaving GB to trail 33-47 with one quarter left.
The fighting spirit which has seen this GB team pull through more than one tight finish in the tournament was needed again, although wiping out that sort of margin is always going to stretch the limit of what’s achievable. But Coach Ellis’s team gave it their best.
An Esther Little layup got them to within seven with 7:18 remaining and it was as close as GB could get. Romania took it by 11 in the end to finish 9th at the tournament.
Backing up Winterburn, Ellmore finished with 7 points and Little 5 points with seven rebounds. Full stats are available.
GB finish 10th in Division B (26th overall) but it’s been possible to see clear lines of development in the players at the tournament. This will hopefully be part of the experience they need as they progress as basketball players.
Coach Ellis told gbbasketball.com, “Our first half performance was not representative of previous performances, and despite rallying in the second half, the team were unable to close the gap.”
“We are proud of the overall team effort throughout the tournament, and given our minimal preparation period, finishing in the top 10 from 24 teams is a reasonable achievement.”
Source: GB Basketball