GB pipped by Croatia in final encounter at EuroBasket 2015

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Great Britain were eliminated from EuroBasket Women 2015 Final Round ahead of the final day of action. Having lost their first three games of the competition, it still looked as if a convincing victory against Croatia might still allow them to progress to the second phase in Gyor.

However, Latvia produced an upset with a 68-62 success against Russia in a historic moment as they beat their Group C rivals for the first time in EuroBasket Women history.

And it didn’t quite happen for them, Great Britain couldn’t quite sign off their EuroBasket Women Final Round campaign with a morale boosting victory after being pipped 76-70 by Croatia in their last outing in Szombathely.

Having endured a slow start to the game, Rachael Vanderwal inspired a comeback and eventually ended up with a sparkling 20 points, four rebounds and four assists – but GB just fell short in the closing stages.

“We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t take the last opportunity we had to get a win under our belt and truly show who we are as a team,” said the guard. “We came out too slow and fought hard to catch up, but we didn’t make enough shots at the end to take the win.”

“Now we have to re-group and look forward as it is only a few months until we start the qualification games for the next EuroBasket Women tournament. We also need to congratulate the younger players like Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott who have come into the team and showed the potential for the future.”

GB had found themselves down by double-digits early at 12-2 after their slow opening, but came roaring back into things – only for Croatia to then pull away again by the end of the opening period to lead 25-12.

Some sharp-shooting from long range by Stef Collins kept GB in contention, although heading into the second half they were still down 45-36.

With Temi Fagbenle warming up in the paint and some great play by Vanderwal, GB enjoyed their best spell of the game after the interval and not only erased the deficit, but briefly went ahead at 58-55.

However Iva Borovic and Iva Sliskovic found the hot hand for Croatia to get the job done during the closing minutes and deny GB victory.

Fagbenle finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Head coach Peter Buckle bemoaned the team’s preparation for their record and stated, “We had a tough ride during preparation with illnesses and injuries, which meant we only had our 12 together for two training sessions. It is nobody’s fault – just circumstances. It took us to game four to shoot the ball well enough and understand the tempo and defensive effort that was required.”

“Ultimately, we just took too long to adjust.”

You can view the full box score statistics here.

The Great Britain Senior Women will next be in action during November 2015, when they will begin the qualification process for EuroBasket Women 2017 – we wish them well.