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Great Britain’s Women punch ticket to EuroBasket 2019

Great Britain eased to victory over Portugal to secure their spot at FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019, topping Group D with a 5-1 qualification record.

Knowing only a victory would be enough to send them through, the hosts carried over the momentum from last weekend’s dramatic win over Greece to make a fast start – outscoring the visitors 20-9 in the opening quarter. Much to the delight of the crowd at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.

A low-scoring, back and forth second period saw Great Britain maintain their advantage and head into half-time with a comfortable 33-19 lead – Johannah Leedham and Rachael Vanderwal each having netted seven points.

As if to remind the visitors of their dominance, a swift 9-2 run by the home team to begin the second half all but killed any notion of a dramatic comeback by Portugal.

From that point on it was a case of game maintenance by Great Britain, led by the team’s starting unit: Leedham, Vanderwal, Temi Fagbenle, Karlie Samuelson and the retiring Azania Stewart. 

Stewart – who collected her 101st and final cap – had the fans on their feet on multiple occasions as the veteran ran through her offensive repertoire for the last time on the international stage.

Leading 53-27 at the end of the third, Great Britain eventually ran out comfortable 83-42 winners – capping an incredible qualification campaign and one of the most impressive few days in recent history for the women’s team.

Vanderwal led all scorers with 21 points – including shooting a perfect 5/5 from deep – for Great Britain, while Fagbenle added 17 points, Stewart signed off with 10 points and Leedham netted a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Image: FIBA

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